LONG-STANDING Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning has announced his resignation today, stepping away from the position he held for well over a decade.
Mr Manning was elected to the position in April 2012, was re-elected in 2016 and again in 2020.
A Cairns local, he was a student at Edge Hill State School and went to Cairns State High School to complete his secondary education.
After that he attended the University of Southern Queensland, graduating with a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) and served in the Vietnam War from 1970 to 1971.
His first major role was as CEO of Longreach Shire Council, before he returned home to take up the position as secretary, and then CEO, of the Cairns Port Authority.
In 2002 he was awarded Cairns Citizen of the Year and was the recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2004 for his service to the Cairns region community through the development and promotion of the tourism, marine and aviation industries.
Mr Manning cited medical advice as the sole reason for his resignation.
“It is a great honour to have served almost twelve years as Mayor of the city of my birth.
“Similarly for Claire, who has served this city as Mayoress, and this is something she has done caringly and thoughtfully.
“It was never in our makeup to seek recognition or reward, but I especially want to thank the people of Cairns who made us feel so welcome.
“Our beautiful city has changed greatly and for the better, and I thank all of those who have played a part in this – councillors, management and staff.
“We can have much confidence in the future and what it will bring for the people of our beautiful city.”
Council CEO Mica Martin has expressed her gratitude towards Mr Manning.
“On behalf of council and the community, I extend our sincere thanks to Mr Manning better known as Mr Mayor for his significant contributions to our city and the broader region,” she said.
“Personally, I thank you Mr Mayor for your quiet determination and dedication to the Cairns region, it has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to have worked alongside you, to watch, listen and learn from you.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed your stories, anecdotes and history lessons but most importantly your absolute love for Carins and its community.”
Mr Manning holds the distinction of being the city’s second-longest-serving Mayor and has overseen the delivery of numerous noteworthy projects.
“Among them, the redevelopment of Munro Martin Parklands and Tobruk Pool, the construction of the Cairns Performing Arts Centre, the enhancement of various community and sporting facilities throughout the region and the transformation of The Court House into a gallery space,” Ms Martin said.
“Mr Manning was also at the helm during the pandemic and during this challenging time, he remained focused on the future and planning for when our city would again be open to visitors.
“This vision led to the fast-tracking of the Esplanade Dining Precinct redevelopment, which has helped to put the city on the front foot in terms of visitation.”
Ms Martin said Mr Manning’s decision to step down ends more than four decades of service to the region.
“As well as serving almost 12 years as Mayor, Mr Manning spent 18 years as Secretary and then CEO of the Cairns Port Authority, and over 10 years as director/chairman of Tourism Tropical North Queensland (previously Far North Queensland Promotion Bureau).
“His remarkable service reflects an extraordinary personal investment in the betterment of our region, and the community has been fortunate to have had a civic leader with such passion and dedication.”
With Mr Manning now stepping down, Cairns Regional Council will be appointing a new Mayor at next week’s ordinary council meeting on 22 November.
Under the Local Government Act 2009 there is no requirement to hold an election to fill the vacant office of Mayor as the vacancy is now too close (within 12 months) to the next quadrennial local government election, set for March 2024.
However, council must formally decide which councillor will be Mayor until the next election.