Redlanders to head to the polls despite coronavirus

CANDIDATES STAY AWAY: The Victoria Point pre-polling centre was a candidate-free zone on Friday.
CANDIDATES STAY AWAY: The Victoria Point pre-polling centre was a candidate-free zone on Friday.

THIRTY-ONE candidates will be eagerly awaiting the results of Saturday's Redland City Council election after coronavirus threw a spanner in the works of candidates' 11th hour campaign efforts.

Mayoral candidates Claire Richardson and David Curtin are vying to break Karen Williams' streak in the top job.

The high profile Cr Williams would enter her third term as mayor, and her fifth term in council, if successful.

Divisions 2, 5 and 9 are set to be hotly contested, with four contenders in the running for each ward.

In Division 4, Lance Hewlett looked set to run unopposed until a late announcement from Jarrod Noble.

All sitting councillors will recontest their seats.

The newly-elected or returning mayor would have to step into the difficult job of responding to the coronavirus pandemic as it continues to sweep across south-east Queensland.

Less than two weeks from election day, the virus disrupted plans for campaigners, with candidates signing an agreement not to hand out election materials at booths after the second day of pre-polling in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Some Redland City Bulletin readers said the election should be called off until the virus was no longer a threat but the state government view is that it is better to have local governments in place to handle the issue.

With some voters reluctant to brave the crowds on election day, Queensland Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said postal vote applications were at an all-time high, with more than 540,000 received.

Key election issues influencing voters will include developments like Toondah Harbour, the Shoreline development at Redland Bay as well as handling the coronavirus pandemic.

Arresting climbing rates, improving roads and lobbying for better public transport were also among candidates' top priorities.

Several council hopefuls have chosen to base their campaigns on trust, transparency and community engagement.

Meanwhile, Bowman MP Andrew Laming was told to keep out of the council election after candidates expressed concerns about his use of social media and direct mail in an attempt to influence votes. Mr Laming defended his #PartyPoliticsOutOfCouncil campaign.

Polls open at 8am on Saturday and are set to close at 6pm.

Voters were encouraged to bring their own pen or pencil with them to vote as a hygiene precaution.

Telephone voting may be available for people who have been advised to remain in isolation during the election period. Call 1300 912 782 to check eligibility.