IT'S TIME: Councillor Peter Freeleagus has resigned from Isaac Regional Council.
IT'S TIME: Councillor Peter Freeleagus has resigned from Isaac Regional Council. Contributed

Dedicated councillor says goodbye to Isaac

AFTER serving in local politics for more than two decades, a highly respected Isaac region councillor has announced his resignation.

Cr Peter Freeleagus, who began his political career with Belyando Shire Council, forged a reputation for challenging his colleagues and having a deep understanding of the community.

He was first elected in 1997 and appointed deputy mayor three years later, before becoming mayor from 2003 to 2008, when Belyando was amalgamated with Broadsound and Nebo shire councils.

The veteran councillor ran for mayor of Isaac Regional Council after the amalgamation but lost to former Broadsound mayor Cedric Marshall by three votes.

Cr Freeleagus ran for the Federal seat of Capricornia twice, replacing former member Kristen Livermore as the Labor candidate in the 2013 election, which he subsequently lost to the sitting member, Michelle Landry.

He ran against Ms Landry again in the 2016 election after narrowly losing to the MP in 2013.

Cr Freeleagus said while being elected to public office was an honour and achievement, it was also hard work.

"It is about participating in and shaping debate on issues of importance to the community and being willing to make hard decisions and stand by those convictions,” he said.

"It is timely for a new councillor to come on board as the organisation moves into its 2019-2020 budget cycle, and the most important period of council.

"I wish my fellow councillors, Mayor Baker, CEO Gary Stevenson and his directors all the best for the remainder of the term.

"To our council workforce, the backbone of the organisation, please accept my hearty thanks for all you do for our region.

"I extend my biggest thank you to my best support, my wife Diane and our family for their understanding over the many years.”

Cr Freeleagus said he plans to spend more time with his children and grandchildren in Mackay.

He chaired the council's Water and Waste Standing Committee and was a member of the Corporate Governance and Financial Services, Audit and Risk and Land and Development advisory committees.

Because Cr Freeleagus's resignation comes within 18 months of the next council election, his resignation will not trigger a by-election. Instead, Mr Stevenson will ask for expressions of interest from the community and those who ran in the 2016 election for division four.

From there, Cr Baker and councillors will nominate someone to serve in the position until the 2020 election.

Mayor Anne Baker, who served with Cr Freeleagus on Belyando Shire Council, said it was a sad day for the Isaac Regional Council.

"Peter's knowledge and experience has been an absolute asset to the organisation and will be missed around the chamber table,” Councillor Baker said.

"His dedication to the Isaac region for more than two decades is a true example of the pure people power which drives our region.

"Peter's leadership as an elected representative and contribution to improving this organisation and the wellbeing of our communities will leave a lasting legacy.”