Ipswich Jets CEO set to fly back into politics in Div 5
THERE is a new front runner in the race for Division 5 in the 2016 council elections.
Ipswich Jets CEO Wayne Wendt has confirmed to the QT he will contest the division vacated by the retiring Cr Heather Morrow.
Mr Wendt, a former Ipswich West MP in the Beattie and Bligh Labor governments, is the highest profile new candidate to put up their hand for the March elections.
He will bring a wealth of experience in politics, business and community engagement to the role of councillor, should he be successful
Mr Wendt, 55, said the current council has done "a fantastic job over the last 10 years" and that he was not intending to reinvent the wheel.
"After a lot of discussion with my wife and family, because going back into politics is not something I take lightly, I have decided to throw my hat into the ring to continue the good work that Heather has been doing," he said.
"I think it is too important to lose the momentum.
"Ipswich is still far in advance of a lot of places.
"We have a very stable political, employment and business environment. I think it is important that we continue that, and grow."
Mr Wendt remained actively involved in the community after losing his old seat in the 2012 state election and at the Jets he has been at the forefront of the club's outstanding work in the community.
Mr Wendt said it was vital for political leaders to impart confidence.
That confidence has been a hallmark of his three years as the Jets boss where he was at the helm as a proactive administrator during the club's historic triumphs in the Intrust Super Cup and NRL State Championship deciders
"I am a very confident person and I always try and impart that wherever I am," he said.
"We have got to maintain that confidence in Ipswich. I think it is a really good place to be involved in for business and for sporting and living opportunities.
"What I can possibly bring to council is a new set of eyes.
"I have obviously got recent business experience and had my own accounting business for 10 years before I went into parliament.
"I understand small business and big business as well, along with sporting and community organisations.
"I understand the political processes involved in those areas and all of them have a common theme, which is communication.
"I have tried to use my communication skills in all of those areas and with the general punter in the street."
Division 5 encompasses a significant section of Ipswich that he once represented in his role as Ipswich West MP.
"Division 5 stretches from Karalee right through places like Chuwar, Tivoli, North Ipswich, Basin Pocket and East Ipswich," he said.
"The people at the Karalee end will have different wants and needs to those at the East Ipswich end and you have to be attuned to the different requirements."
Mr Wendt will line up against fellow Division 5 nominees Brian Scott, Michael Melling, Anne Webber, Eve Sirigos, Trevor Grandin, and Peter Robinson.
The Jets boss has had many Ipswich residents encourage him to return to public office.
"I often walk through the club where people ask if I am going to get back involved in politics.
"I had resisted the opportunity because I was happy with what I'd done.
"But with the retirement of Heather Morrow I see a bit of a void. I can provide some leadership and experience."