New Mayor Kerr up for the challenge


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Mayor Michael Kerr in the Council chambers. Image: Karlie Brady.

Newly-elected Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr has survived his first open Council meeting, but not without its challenges.

And without giving himself a mark out of 10, he said he fully expected to be opposed.

“Today’s first meeting clearly showed the passion at the Councillors’ table. Everyone has different views, they are at the table because they represent the people who voted for them and I expect them to stand up for what they believe.

“And I expected to be confronted at my first Open meeting, which was motivated by four key issues I brought forward in the Mayoral Minutes,” said Mayor Kerr.

Of the four issues in the Mayoral Minutes, the most controversial were the Daintree Ferry, and its immediate future which included the consideration of building a bridge across the river; and supporting the Federal Government’s Daintree Micro-Grid project in the Daintree. 

“I am committed to these issues, which were part of my election campaign, and they had to go before Council. And I fully expected I would be challenged,” he said.

At yesterday’s meeting, Council resolved to temporarily suspend the Daintree River Ferry contract negotiations and explore the option of a bridge crossing at various locations along the river, as well as identify the possible economic benefits to the region; and Council agreed to support the Federal Government’s micro-grid project.

In conceding that he had his apprehensions, Mayor Kerr said he felt more comfortable as his first meeting progressed.

“My major objective was to ensure everyone had their say and I encouraged that throughout the meeting. This was especially important as we were dealing with a number of hot topics,” he said.

Mayor Kerr said now that we have just had an election, it is the right time to change policy. He highlighted changes to the Town Plan and the need for cost-effective accommodation in Port Douglas.

“A retirement village will also be part of any residential investigation,” he said.

Mayor Kerr said he was also looking forward to working closely with Council CEO Mark Stoermer.

“We get along well and I am confident and looking forward to numerous achievements,” said Mayor Kerr.

In moving forward, he said he had to get his head around many issues and digest what’s happening. 

View the first Ordinary Council Meeting below:  

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