Five candidates set to stand for Launceston City Council mayor

Darren Alexander

Darren Alexander

THE Launceston City Council may have five candidates running for mayor in next month's local government election.

With the move to an all-in, all-out election for a four-year term, the race for the top job in Launceston - the largest council in Tasmania - is expected to be one of the most hotly contested in the state.

Legislation to get rid of the 12-month probation period for individuals to run for mayor or deputy passed the Legislative Council last week.

This has opened the door for first-time candidates, who are confident of their reputation to get them across the line for mayor or deputy.

The Tasmanian Electoral Commission has predicted as many as 40 candidates could run for the 12 alderman positions in Launceston.

To date, The Examiner knows of two sitting aldermen who have confirmed they are running for mayor and another two names are serious possible contenders.

It is believed well-known IT businessman, Autech chief executive Darren Alexander, is on the verge of an announcement.

Alderman Hugh McKenzie was the first to confirm rumours that he would run, announcing his intention in July.

Alderman Ted Sands was the second to make his intentions public and began his mayoral election campaign late last week.

Deputy Mayor Jeremy Ball, who has been in the position for the past three years, is generally thought to be a contester for the top job.

However, yesterday he would only say that he was considering running for one of the two top jobs - and would confirm his intentions later this week.

Mayor Albert van Zetten, who has been in the role for seven years and was uncontested in the 2011 election, continues to play it close to his chest as to his future.

Yesterday he said he had made a decision and would make an announcement in the near future.

The surprise entrant to the local government and mayoral race is Mr Alexander.

Mr Alexander said yesterday he was keen to see a change at council and would confirm his decision within the week.

The mayor will get about a $110,000 package, deputy mayor $50,000 and a Launceston alderman in the vicinity of $31,000.

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