MAYORAL and councillor candidates say they're ready for a tough competition as they kick-off an election campaign.
Mayoral candidate Peter Besseling and council candidates Robert Turner, Geoff Hawkins and Justin Levido the four names to make up Mr Besseling's ticket officially nominated for the forthcoming council election and filled out the official paperwork at the NSW electoral commission office in Lake Road on Monday.
The elections are now less than five weeks away, to be held on September 9.
"This is effectively us saying we're ready to go and we'll be campaigning hard from now on in," Mr Besseling, 42, said.
A total of 17 councillor candidates and six mayoral candidates have confirmed their intention to run, but the number to officially nominate will not be known until after the nomination deadline.
Nominations close at noon today.
Councillor candidate and former chamber of commerce president Robert Turner welcomed competition from other candidates.
The father-of-three is a pharmacist by profession and was a member of the now defunct Regional Development Panel charged with the task to provide the council with external community advice and assistance in the regional development field.
"The more people from the community who put their hand up the better. It gives everyone the opportunity to put forward reasons why they should be elected," he said.
"I don't see it as a bad thing at all."
Business consultant Geoff Hawkins agreed.
Mr Hawkins was part of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's External Risk and Audit Committee for more than three years.
"I think diversity is terrific. The more people who nominate the more opportunity there is for more points of view to come forward," he said.
Meanwhile, managing partner at Donovan Oates Hannaford Lawyers of Port Macquarie Justin Levido said the size of the field was evidence of the passion of the community.
The council election in September is the first election since council was placed under administration in 2008.
"I think it shows that this is a serious election. It's a great opportunity to mould the future of the area starting with a clean sheet of paper," Mr Levido said.
"It's going to be a council that's not going to be burdened with history."The council election in September is the first election after 4 years under administration.
Lisa Intemann, Reg Pierce, Adam Roberts, Keith Wilkinson, Bob McGowan, Sharon Griffiths and Peter Alley are also gunning for the top job as mayor.
Mr Besseling said he couldn't be happier with his team.
"It's a real mix of experience, knowledge and skill," he said.