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Outback Bulloo has a council candidate for every 30 people

INCUMBENT: Bulloo Shire Mayor John ‘Tractor’ Ferguson.
INCUMBENT: Bulloo Shire Mayor John ‘Tractor’ Ferguson. Kirstin Payne

A HUGE number of council candidates have been the rule everywhere in Queensland, but nowhere has a more disproportionate rate than Bulloo shire.

With a population, of around 400, and 226 voters, the number of candidates has blown out to 16. Thirteen locals will vie for a councillor spot, with three wanting the mayor's chair.

So a candidate could conceivably win a $50,000 a year job with just 40 votes.

It's a far cry from last time around. In 2012, the council, based around Thargomindah, had too few candidates to fill all the seats.

Acting CEO Lew Rojahn said and literally had to call someone up to ask him to run.

"They rang him up and said 'you're in mate'," he said.

That councillor, Bernard Brown, isn't even running for re-election.

John "Tractor" Ferguson said he's never seen so many candidates in his 20 years of experience on the Bulloo Shire Council.

"Once or twice we've had two standing for mayor," he said.

He put the increase in interest down to an increase in pay.

But he said the shire might be well-served by new blood.

"It's good to see that there's a lot of young people in it," he said.

"That's a healthy outcome."

Most locals think it's probably due to the money, according to Neil Turner. Every councillor is entitled to just shy of $50,000 a year.

Neil runs Noccundra Hotel, the famous "pub with no town". He is running for rank-and-file councillor.

He said he personally has no interest in the cash.

"I don't even know what sort of money they get for it," he said.

"If I get in I want to do it for the community, it's not for the hotel, it's for the community."

He said he was particularly interested in being a voice for the remote community, the people on the land.

Once upon a time, nobody wanted to run for council: it was all just retirees.

Things have changed.


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