The cost of council elections will fall back on ratepayers.
The cost of council elections will fall back on ratepayers.

What ratepayers will pay for council elections

ISAAC Regional Council will fork out $90,000 on the upcoming local government election, only a fraction of what its neighbours will pay.

Mackay Region Mayor Greg Williamson has warned ratepayers of an excessive $800,000 bill for its election, while Rockhampton Regional Council ratepayers will pay about $577,000.

Isaac chief executive officer Gary Stevenson said while the Electoral Commission of Queensland managed the election process, each council was required to pay for the election.

The cost difference came down to logistics, the ECQ said.

Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said there were about 11,500 enrolled voters in the Isaac council area while Mackay has close to 80,000.

"So, naturally the cost of the election in each will differ significantly based purely on the population," he said.

"For example, Isaac is expected to need about seven polling booths operating on election day whereas Mackay will need about 36 booths, and of course they all have to be staffed."

"Mackay needs more than seven times the number of ballot papers that will be used in Isaac and each voter has to fill in two ballots at local government elections - one for mayor and one for councillors."

The Isaac region has been through considerable change in the lead-up to the election, with alterations made to division boundaries to adjust for future population.

In July, Mr Stevenson's division boundary submission to the ECQ stated the council could appreciate the "desire" to forecast population for 2024, but asked the organisation to take into account the "volatility and unpredictability of the resource industry".

"Issues to be taken into account, including the increase of non-resident workers in the region with the upsurge of activity, new resource projects on foot and the subsequent unknown impact on residential numbers and locations," Mr Stevenson wrote.

The council suggested it maintain the existing boundaries, with the exception of the realignment of divisions one and six around Clermont and go forward with the changes to divisions one, two, six and eight, but keep the rest the same.

The ECQ rejected this and divisions were changed to account for population projections.

In early 2020, the election process will kick off with a notice of election and two-week nomination period.

"I'm happy to respond to inquiries for potential candidates about the role of councillor or about their interest in Isaac Regional Council," Mr Stevenson said.

"All intending candidates for next year's local government elections, including any sitting mayor and councillors who plan to run again, are now required to complete an online training course before they nominate."

There might be an opportunity for face-to-face training in the future.