The new rule prohibiting shire employees from standing for election to the shire council will have a big impact in MacDonnell Shire, with at least five of the 12 councillors opting to stay in their jobs and not run again in the March poll.
In the Rodinga Ward – covering the communities of Amoonguna, Santa Teresa, Titjikala and Finke – this is the case for all four councillors.
The rule seems like a 'no brainer' if you think about conflict of interest issues, but as ever, conditions in remote communities put a different slant on things.
Councillor Joe Rawson lives at Titjikala. He works as an essential services officer (ESO), and will not run again. The rule will "put a big hole in the Rodinga Ward", he said. Does he think other candidates will come forward in the ward?
"It comes down to employment – 99% of employment comes through MacDonnell Shire. To try to get others to nominate who are not on the MacDonnell Shire payroll is very hard ... if they don't have motor vehicles, the shire won't supply motor vehicles. You have to maintain your own vehicle to get to and from the meetings.
"We get an allowance – sitting fees, travel allowance every time we travel , but ... if you do a diff, you might get $700 to come to a meeting but it'll end up costing $1400 to fix the diff." KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured, from top: Councillors Joe Rawson and Roxanne Kenny – he will not stand again but she will.