GOLD Coast Mayor Tom Tate has officially kicked off his re-election campaign today with the promise of a 'Plan B' to the failed cruise ship terminal, one of the major policies that drove his last campaign.
However, it was seniors who are the first big winners of his fight to win office for another term.
Tate says he plans to extend free off-peak public transport on buses for seniors for the next four years at a cost to the city of $800,000 a year.
The funds will come from the $6 million a year the council is currently committed to spending as part of an agreement with the State Government for transport and roads.
The initiative has already been in place two years on an extended trial basis with about 20,000 seniors signed up for it.
"We want to lock it in to give certainty," says Tate, who also plans to lobby the State Government to financially support the move.
"We are already budgeted to pay $6 million a year and this is only a portion of it. The community that needs help the most are our seniors."
Tate expects to face a challenge from up to eight candidates for the mayoralty, and he says he is not averse to adopting policies from any candidate that he says will benefit the city. He also welcomes the prospect of working with at least five new councillors due to planned retirements of existing representatives.
"My style is to make sure our councillors work as a united team," says Tate.
As for the ill-fated attempt to develop a cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast, Tate says the ousting of the Newman Government was an unexpected twist in the plan.
"I had a good crack at it," he says. "I didn't sit back and make a promise and didn't have a go.
"But I don't let things go lightly. I have a Plan B and will announce it once we get our costings done."
Tate did not elaborate further, although he says the cruise terminal was supported by a majority of voters.
"I want what's best for the city - for the majority of people and not for the loud minority," he says.
"Our best days are ahead us. We've got a Commonwealth Games to host, a cultural precinct to build, a cruise ship terminal to deliver, and a budget to keep trimmed and a city to lead."
Tate also highlighted his environmental initiatives during his time as mayor, including the extension of the Kirra groin and the quarantining of half the city for open space through the new city plan.
He also made the most of rate increases of just 3 per cent over the past three years, which he says compared to 11.5 per cent rate hike in 2011. A surge in receipts from infrastructure charges, as well as debt reduction, have eased the pressure on the city budget in recent years.
"We've made a great start," says Tate. "We've delivered lower rates, better roads, safer suburbs and more jobs, but there's more to be done.
"We've seen more than $6 billion of investment come to the city since this council was elected.
"The Construction Kick Start initiative had also delivered investment and jobs with 276 projects approved with an estimated value of $785m."
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