Only one hat in the ring

Dubbo Regional Council’s new councillors are holding their cards close to their chest just days out from the mayoral election.

Kevin Parker is the only Dubbo Regional councillor-elect to confirm he will stand for mayor. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Kevin Parker is the only Dubbo Regional councillor-elect to confirm he will stand for mayor. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Kevin Parker and Stephen Lawrence were the only people to fully declare their intentions when asked about standing for the mayor and deputy mayor roles.

Mr Parker confirmed he will stand for mayor, while Mr Lawrence ruled out standing for either position.

All other councillors indicated at least some interest in one of the positions, or refused to rule out running.

Former deputy mayor Ben Shields would make no comment about either position.

However there is strong speculation that he is aiming to be DRC’s first mayor, and may have the numbers to get across the line, possibly with a deputy from Wellington.

Other possible mayoral contenders include John Ryan, who wouldn’t rule out running but said he was unlikely to succeed, and Greg Mohr, who said he was keeping his options open for mayor and deputy.

Jane Diffey had previously indicated an interest in the position but on Thursday said she ruled herself out.

Mr Parker has been upfront from the start about his intentions, declaring he would stand for the top job.

“Nothing has changed. I will stand for mayor. I will certainly have at least one councillor running against me for sure, no names, but there will be at least one other,” he said.

The role of deputy could be well contested, although nobody has said for certain they would run.

Mr Mohr, Ms Diffey, David Grant, Dayne Gumley, Vicki Etheridge and Anne Jones all showed some interest in the position. 

There is a push from some sections for a Wellington deputy mayor. Mr Ryan said he felt it would be appropriate to show the town wouldn’t be overlooked by the new council.

Mr Grant and Ms Jones both said they were open to the suggestion, and were considering their options.

Ms Jones said regardless of who was elected, it was important that the mayor, deputy mayor and general manager have a close working relationship.