Shayne Neumann, the Federal Member for Blair has criticised council candidate inactivity.
Shayne Neumann, the Federal Member for Blair has criticised council candidate inactivity. Bev Lacey

'If you haven't declared, you're not fair dinkum'

FEDERAL MP Shayne Neumann has criticised a lack of council candidates and candidate inactivity ahead of the March 2020 elections.

Twelve council hopefuls have put their hand up already, the majority of whom are tilting for mayor.

Mr Neumann said any "serious" candidate should have declared their intention to run already.

He expressed concerns as to whether there would be enough candidates to fill voting cards for two councillors in each of the four divisions.

"In my view, if you haven't declared now or if you don't declare shortly, you're not fair dinkum," he said.

"We haven't seen much activity from many candidates at all. I haven't seen any door-knocking, canvassing, street stalls, railway stations, and where's any flyers?"

"Where's the mobile offices, where's the engagement?"

Mr Neumann said with only six months of campaigning ahead, it may not be enough time for voters to get to know candidate policies.

"I would ask the question: Why do you want to run for council, what have you done and what are your plans for council." he said.

"We need people who can answer these questions... we need people with a history of community involvement that don't just come in and out for elections."

He said candidates should be abreast of environmental, development and infrastructure issues which are set to reach boiling point in Ipswich as the city's population booms.

"We need some fresh blood and new blood in Ipswich council," Mr Neumann said.

"Whether it's on the dumps and the smell... the next council... really has to take a very strong environmental approach and understanding of sustainable development in our region, and that we can't be 'dump city' for the rest of the country."

Mr Neumann said there are a lot of projects for council candidates to lobby for, for their potential constituents.

"There's a lot of community projects, there's social infrastructure like a new stadium at the North Ipswich Reserve, there's roads, like the Cunningham, Warrego and Centenary highways, the rail link from Ipswich to Springfield, the showgrounds, there's a whole range of infrastructure projects they can pursue," he said.

Minister for Local Government Stirling Hinchcliffe said six months was a long time still for candidates to nominate, however. Official nominations do not open until 2020, however, it is expected candidates will campaign for several months prior to the election.

"Six months is still a long way from the election and there is ample time for Ipswich residents to nominate for mayoral and councillor candidacy," Mr Hinchcliffe said.

"In the unusual event that there are insufficient candidates, the election process will have to start again and a new polling day will be announced by the ECQ (Electoral Commission of Queensland) and gazetted."