Council forms with a mix of new, old and returning – and a bit of history

Scenic Rim's new Mayor, Tom Sharp. Photo by Susie Cunningham.

FOLLOWING the 2024 Local Government Election declaration by the ECQ on Saturday March 30, Scenic Rim Regional Council will be a mix of new, old and returning councillors, but there is a bit of history amongst it.

Newly elected Mayor, Tom Sharp, has no local government experience but is the fourth generation of his family to serve on a Council.

Division One was retained by Amanda Hay, who won the position in April 2023 after Derek Swanborough resigned, triggering a by-election.

Ray White Canungra

In Division Two, Tamborine Bulletin Editor Kerri Cryer had very strong support with 76.06% of the vote.  Kerri is well known in the area through her newspaper and for her community volunteer roles.

Interestingly, Division Three’s new councillor, Steve Moriarty and the new Mayor have local government family history going back generations.  

Moriarty’s grandfather, Les Gittins, served on Beaudesert Shire Council with Sharp’s grandfather, James McDonald Sharp, back in the 1960s.

Moriarty said Gittins was his mother’s father, who served for one term in Council.

“I believe he was beaten by one vote at the next election by Garrett Fitzgerald, who operated a transport business where the Ampol service station now stands, as well as driving the primary school bus,” he said.

Fitzgerald also built the shopping centre in Canungra where the IGA and Flesser’s Bakery currently stand.

“James Sharp was integral in getting the gorge road sealed and upgraded so Canungra people and others had better access to the Gold Coast. Before that it was just a gravel track.”

In Division Four, Jennifer Sanders returns to Council after losing the last two elections to retiring Councillor Michael Enright.

She served from 2012 to 2016 and has maintained a determination to represent the Division ever since.

The closest contest in the election was Division Five where incumbent Marshall  Chalk has managed to keep his position, with a margin of only 87 votes (less than two per cent) between Chalk and candidate Leanne Bartrim.

Division Six was retained by Duncan McInnes OAM.

McInnes was first elected to Scenic Rim Regional Council in 2012 and was re-elected unopposed in 2020.

About Keer Moriarty 277 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.