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15 July, 2021

Candidates engage with the community

IT HAS been a short and very sharp campaign for the vacant Cassowary Coast Regional Council Division 6 seat.

By Peter McCullagh

Cassowary Coast Division 6 candidates: Barry Anderson, Antonino Ucchino, Renee McLeod, Harry Tenni, John Hutchinson, Wayne Kimberley and Paul Toogood

The by-election was triggered after the resignation of Councillor Kylie Farinelli after a brief 13 months in office.

One major issue to many residents is the willingness and ability of candidates standing to ‘go the full term’, if elected.

This question was posed to one candidate at the recent Meet the Candidates evening hosted by the Innisfail Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  This by-election has come at a price to ratepayers and there appears to be concerns over the ability of one candidate as a result of outstanding legal issues currently before the courts.

Paul Toogood, from Bingil Bay is standing for the vacant Division 6 electorate covering South Innisfail down to Mourilyan and Cowley Beach. Currently Mr Toogood is defending several legal issues including defamation and  possible bankruptcy. One resident attending the meeting posed the question regarding Mr Toogood’s ability to see out the term if elected and if the legal issues were ruled against him.

“There’s nothing I have that would disqualify me from being a councillor right now,” Mr Toogood replied. “I have nothing to fear from any of these cases going forward.

Mr Toodgood also advised Cairns Local News that he will serve the balance of the current term and then contest the Mayoral candidancy in the 2024 elections.

Candidates had all been contacted previously regarding this issue. El Arish publican, Wayne Kimberly believes his track records speaks for itself. “

I have demonstrated my commitment having served two terms as a Councillor.  I understand the community’s expectation of a councillor to be available outside of the traditional 9 to 5 weekday as many community meetings and events are held nights and weekends.

Renee McLeod at the meeting spoke passionately about her time working for the local school P & C, committing to show the same passion and commitment to the residents of the Cassowary Coast.

“I have been committed to our community for the past 30 years as an active member in many community groups & events. I’m not going anywhere and will be your community voice.”

Harry Tenni, a division 6 resident and candidate did take the issue of eligibility and commitment one step further.

“I keep hearing the words honesty and integrity! I believe if this is true of all candidates, running in this by-election, there should be no problem for each candidate to provide a Statutory Declaration before that date, stating the following: “I (Full name) confirm I can fulfill my duties in a proper manner, and have no current Council court actions, personal conflicts of interest,  or personal work commitments, that will prevent me serving as an elected member, full time for the balance of this term.” 

“This Community deserves honesty before a person is elected.

“I can honestly give my commitment and Statutory Declaration to the community, to ensure continuity of governance for the balance of the term.”

Early polling is underway, with the Electoral Commission of Queensland anticipating up to 50 per cent of eligible voters will register their vote before polling day this Saturday.

Polls open this Saturday at 8am and will close at 6pm. A full list of polling stations is available on the ECQ website.

Key Issues:


  • Wayne Kimberley: I will still run my business.
  • Antonio Ucchini: Full Time councillor.
  • Renee McLeod: — can run a business as well as serve as Councillor.
  • Harry Tenni: — Full time councillor.
  • Paul Toogood: — will pass personal business management over to others and work full time as councillor.


  • Wayne Kimberley: Industry development and careers paths for our youth.
  • Antonio Ucchini: Managing rate payer funds.
  • Renee McLeod: — The disconnect between community and council.
  • Harry Tenni: — The rates and fees are too high.
  • Paul Toogood: — Council need to go back to basics.

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