EXCLUSIVE: Longtime key Rocky figure to run for mayor
EXCLUSIVE: After 16 years of sitting at the council table, Councillor Tony Williams is now vying for the top job - mayor.
The Morning Bulletin can exclusively reveal Cr Williams will be applying for the mayoral vacancy come the Rockhampton Regional Council 2021 by-election.
Cr Williams said it would be a 'natural progression' to step up to the mayoral office, after being a councillor since 2004 and deputy mayor over the years.
He did consider running for mayor in the election earlier this year but it wasn't quite the right time.
"I feel I have been doing an apprenticeship in local government and it's always been my ambition to step up to the platform," he said.
"Over that time it has always been a learning experience.
"Every opportunity I have had to either chair committees or been able to represent council, I have always taken it with open arms."
When asked what inspired him to run, Cr Williams said he had always had a passion to deliver on projects.
"I believe my heart is in Rockhampton region," he said.
"I just see this place as a beautiful area, wonderful people and I just like to see it flourish."
As the election is not planned and the council is only in it's first year of a four year term, Cr Williams doesn't want to be spruiking any grand commitments.
"I have plans for projects but I really don't want to make any commitments," he said.
"Because of the impact of COVID and the financial situation council is in at the moment, I don't want to make any promises there I am not going to be able to achieve.
"I don't want to set the bar too high.
"I'd rather go in and do a deep dive of what the organisation is and then work from there progressively."
He is eager to work with the members of the council table, many of whom he has known for years.
"I think we have a great team at the moment with council, there is some new faces around the table, they are very enthusiastic but there's some old hands there that can really guide the new guys and work together," Cr Williams said.
Prior to council life, Cr Williams was a meatworker - and has the scars to prove it.
Fresh out of high school, he started in 1982 sweeping the floor and worked his way up to be an a-grade butcher.
"It was a very physical and demanding job but I got the satisfaction of bringing the pay packet home and watching my family grow up and paying the bills," he said.
It was at the Lakes Creek meatworks Cr Williams first became involved with helping others.
He was on committees through the meat industry and was on the picnic committee which was a big thing back in the day.
"Just seeing all of the families get down there and enjoy their day off, took a lot of organising and work," he said.
"Just working with fellow workers at the time about what they would like to see happening, gave me a taste about what it's like to work for community and to achieve things they'd like to see happen.."
Cr Williams completed a diploma in Local Government in 2016 which taught him local government legislation, budgets and all of the ins and outs with working with council.
During his time with council Cr Williams has been involved with many committees including as chair of the Local Disaster Management Group, chair of the Drive Inland Promotions Group, Regional Roads Transport Group, executive in the Central Queensland Local Government Association and more.
He's also been involved with countless community groups from neighbourhood watch, senior citizens, a Red Cross blood donation, South Sea islanders and more.
"There are lots of ones you become involved with over the years that are just as important as the big ones," he said.
Some of the major projects he has been involved with over the years have included the Mount Archer activation plan, fishing platforms, boat ramps and the North Rockhampton Flood Mitigation Project.
He is currently the Infrastructure and Assistant Tourism Portfolio holder.
With a by-election poised for mid-January, it is going to make for a short campaign for mayoral candidates over the New Year period.
Cr Williams said it would be a hard and hot slog but he was up for the challenge.
"I've done campaigns before but this is another one to just a divisional councillor one," he said.
"I will give it my best shot.
"Timing will be constrained in getting that message across to the community at a time when they are on holidays and celebrating Christmas and New Year."
Overall, Cr Williams was happy to be putting his name on the ballot paper.
"The by-election will give people the opportunity to pick a candidate that feels deserves to take the role," he said.
"That's the beauty of democracy, people can have the opportunity to vote the person they would like to go in the role.
"Hopefully people can see the work I have done over the years and appreciate that.
"My heart's in the job and they can make that decision based on that."