Noosa's first female mayor Clare Stewart in her new office.
Noosa's first female mayor Clare Stewart in her new office.

Costly campaign was money well spent: Noosa Mayor

NOOSA recently welcomed their first female to the top job, but Clare Stewart's successful campaign to become Noosa mayor over former mayor Tony Wellington was an expensive one.

According to the Organisation Sunshine Coast Association of Residents (OSCAR), Cr Stewart spent an estimated $71,420.09 on her mayoral campaign, compared to Mr Wellington's estimated $7751.80.

A difference of $63,668.29.

Noosa Council CEO Brett de Chastel left with Mayor Clare Stewart.
Noosa Council CEO Brett de Chastel left with Mayor Clare Stewart.

Noosa's first female mayor admitted she did not have a strict budget to stick to.

"To be honest this was my first campaign so I was unsure as to what the budget would be," she said.

"I knew to get my message across and being a political 'unknown' that the costs would be higher than incumbents would incur.

"The costs were considerable and a stretch for our family, but it was important to get the message across."

 

Mayor Clare Stewart with Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie.
Mayor Clare Stewart with Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie.

Cr Stewart said the highest costs came from radio, newspaper and television advertising.

"Much of my expenditure was incurred locally, through local businesses and members of our community who I engaged for work," she said.

"Hence, a fair amount of the expenses I incurred went back into our local economy which I was pleased to support as best and as much as I could throughout the campaign."

Despite having one of the highest expenditures for a mayoral candidate in the state, Cr Stewart said it was money well spent.

"There were two ways for the community to get to know me, one was through the media and the second was face-to-face which I spent a lot of time doing as well," she said.

"I didn't have the advantage of having a 'profile' in the community unlike the other candidate so it would have been harder without the marketing and advertising spend. You cannot reach everyone personally.

In the wash up of the 2020 local elections, the Local Government Association of Queensland is looking at introducing a cap on how much can be spent by candidates for future council campaigns.

However, Cr Stewart said there was more to winning an election than just how much money was spent.

"Give the electorate due recognition for their ability to discern," she said.

"It's about clarity of purpose and the community getting to know me.

"Some of that had to be done through advertising and marketing which was expensive," she said.

"My main effort was trying to be present to the community and listening to their concerns."


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