Donna Neilson
Donna Neilson File

Losers cop it on the chin

"GOOD God no!" former Gympie Region councillor Donna Neilson exclaimed with a laugh yesterday, as she explained that she was definitely not entertaining any ideas of a comeback.

Although her apparently successful election opponent Mick Curran was reluctant to claim victory in Southside's Division 7 yesterday, Ms Neilson was willing to concede defeat, after a record 19-plus years as a member of Gympie Regional Council (and Cooloola Shire before that).

The region's longest-serving female councillor, she was one of two inaugural Gympie Region councillors headed for the exit as counting continued after Saturday's local government elections.

"Larry (Friske)'s the only current councillor who's served longer than I have," she said.

The other ousted councillor was relative newcomer, Graham Engeman, who won office four years ago.

He also readily conceded defeat yesterday in the region's Cooloola Coast Division 1.

"I'm going to clean out the study," Ms Neilson joked yesterday, when asked about her future plans.

"When I finish that I'm going to start on the fridge."

She was first elected to the former Cooloola Shire Council in 1993 and said yesterday she was "very proud of what I have achieved in that time".

With multiple committee chairmanships on her council CV, she has been involved in planning, corporate governance and many other responsibilities.

"I'd certainly like to thank all my fellow councillors and all the staff, who are just wonderful," Ms Neilson said.

But that did not mean she was pining to have another go.

"Been there, done that," she declared with a chuckle.

Mr Engeman was not quite so jovial about his apparent defeat by Tin Can Bay newsagent Mark McDonald.

"I'm fairly disappointed," he said.

"I put in a lot of effort to help people with local issues, but at the end of the day, that doesn't seem to mean a lot.

"People seem to want someone who has been down there longer but I don't regret any of it.

"I certainly have no regrets about moving down there.

"There are a lot of nice people and a lot of issues.

"I hope people do well with Mr McDonald. I don't take it as personal.

"We've bought a place at the coast and we are moving there.

"We're winding down the farm (in the Mary Valley) anyway and having a reduction sale in June."

Although it did not affect him, Mr Engeman said the optional preferential voting system had potential to be unfair to councillors and to make results unpredictable.

Gympie Times


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