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Why Wayne Thorley wants to be Murray Bridge’s next mayor
Exclusive: The farmer and councillor has announced he will run for election with hopes of succeeding Brenton Lewis in 2022.
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Out the back of Jervois, on a verandah overlooking a green pasture, an old farmer is ready to throw his hat into the ring.
Wayne Thorley will run for mayor of Murray Bridge at this year’s council election.
After spending four years as a councillor, and the past three as deputy to the retiring Brenton Lewis, the 62-year-old feels he is ready to take on the top job.
His enthusiasm and experience would serve the community well, he told Murray Bridge News this week.
Cr Thorley grew up at Jervois, where he was the great-grandson of a soldier-settler; went to high school in Murray Bridge; and has spent most of his life working the land.
He has also held noteworthy roles in the Country Fire Service over the past 38 years, having been a group officer – the most senior volunteer rank – and captain of the Jervois brigade.
His frustration at an apparent lack of progress in the rural areas south of Murray Bridge led him to successfully campaign for election to the council in 2018.
If he were elected mayor, he said, he would take a steady-as-she-goes approach.
“We’re a good council, we’re progressing, we’ve got growth,” he said.
“We can do some things better, but we don’t need to change our direction too much.”
The Murray Bridge council was transparent, managed its finances well and had minimised rates bill increases despite rising property values, he suggested.
As mayor, Cr Thorley said he would aim to keep rates affordable, make roads safer and encourage locals to work collectively.
He would encourage the council to focus on:
improving infrastructure and public spaces on the east side of Murray Bridge, and in the smaller towns around the district
lobbying the new state government for a metro bus service between Murray Bridge and Adelaide
finding a solution to the problem of increasing heavy truck traffic in Murray Bridge’s west
If Cr Thorley’s mayoral campaign is unsuccessful, under South Australian election laws, he will not be able to continue as a councillor – it’s all or nothing.
That prospect did not bother him.
“At the end of the day, the public have got to pick,” he said.
“They might find someone else they think is better than me, but if I don’t put my hand up I’ll be letting down some really good people.”
If you want to vote, you’ve got a week to enrol
Residents who want to vote in the upcoming council elections have until 5pm next Friday, July 29 to make sure their details are up to date on South Australia’s electoral roll.
Unlike at other levels of government, business and property owners can also vote in council elections, but must enrol by the same deadline.
Candidate nominations will not officially open until August 23, and will close on September 6.
Ballot papers will be posted to all voters in October, and votes counted on November 12.
Check your enrolment details: www.ecsa.sa.gov.au.
Enrol to vote as a business or property owner: www.lga.sa.gov.au.
More information for people interested in running for election: www.ecsa.sa.gov.au.
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