Vanessa Hall  


THIS SATURDAY, March 16 Queenslanders are being asked to cast their vote in the Local Government Elections and on the Sunshine Coast there will be a new Mayor elected. If you live in Division 8 you will be voting in a new councillor with current councillor Jason O’Pray officially pulling out of Division 8 in an effort to win and become the next Sunshine Coast Mayor.  

The Advertiser sent out a small selection of questions to each candidate in both Divisions 8 and 9 and their answers are as follows.  

Taylor Bunnag. Photo: Contributed.



Why are you running? 

I’m running because I’m passionate about protecting the character of the Sunshine Coast for future generations and making sure we remain a sustainable region. We need someone on council who has vision, real local knowledge and the experience to deliver. I am ready to tackle the big picture problems facing our region while also re-focusing council on service delivery to get the little things right, such as improving footpaths and introducing a kerbside clean-up.  

What is one of your main concerns for the region and how will you address this?  

My primary focus is making sure we protect our lifestyle and the identity of our towns. We can achieve this by making sure our new planning scheme reflects community expectations. As a born and raised local, I know that people in the Coolum and North Shore region want to remain low-rise and low-key. We want our coastal area to keep being the type of place that has a soul and a genuine sense of community. As our councillor, I will always fight against inappropriate development because I am on the side of local people, not developers.  

What is your background?  

I live in Yaroomba with my wife and daughter. I’m a lawyer and a surfer. I grew up on Centenary Heights Road in Coolum with my parents – my dad was a greenskeeper who worked at the Hyatt and mum worked in pathology. I went to school locally and graduated from Nambour High as School Captain. I have a double degree Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Journalism from QUT. In 2016, I started my career as a lawyer with Maurice Blackburn in Maroochydore representing catastrophically injured healthcare patients. Since 2020, I’ve been an industrial lawyer representing everyday working people against some of the largest companies in Australia. I currently sit on the Queensland Work Health and Safety Board. 

Why should people who live in the Coolum and North Shore region vote for you?  

I’m the best candidate in Division 8 because of my local knowledge, skills, experience and character. I have not just grown up locally, I’ve grown with our community and understand our shared history. That local knowledge is bolstered by the skills I’ve developed throughout my legal career – problem-solving, forensic attention to detail, diplomacy and diligence. In terms of my experience, I’ve worked on a variety of complex legal issues involving large companies. This experience has been invaluable as I’ve consistently advocated for fairness in the face of adversity for everyday working people, made difficult decisions and given difficult advice. This experience sets me apart from the other candidates. Finally, character is an important consideration. People know that when I say I’ll do something, I do it. Equally, I pride myself on being respectful, hardworking and people-focused. Being a councillor requires an ability to work with a range of stakeholders and balance competing views. I have a strong track record of bringing people together and working cooperatively with others to achieve the best outcomes possible.  

Kathryn Hyman. Photo: Contributed.



Why are you running? 

I am running because I spend all my spare time doing community work and wish to have more time to dedicate and be more effective. The public interest is a strange hobby! There are many grassfires throughout Division 8 and beyond, and we will see a new council elected this March. I hope for a new culture and ethos from our council and want to bring local government back to local people, as it should be. 

What is one of your main concerns for the region and how will you address this?  

Overdevelopment and rate value. We live in a spectacular region and there is a lot of money to be made by land bankers and developers. We need development and are open for business, but we cannot allow the vested interests of the few at the expense of resident ratepayers and their assets. For most people, their home is their biggest asset and a priority and focus needs to be brought back to residents who seem to be held in contempt for asking questions around what is happening in their neighbourhoods.  
We pay the highest rates in SEQ and have seen again the highest rate increase in SEQ – we pay the highest rates, but we get less for it. I want to see budgets reinstated for basic services such as stormwater management services prior to the wet season, and some of our waste management revenue being directed back to kerbside collection initiatives and the like.  

What is your background?  

Background in education and five-star small luxury tourism. Have been/am an executive member of many committees involved in the local and state government stakeholder consultations and submissions processes. I currently work part-time in the aged care sector and am coordinator for the Mudjimba Community Hall. These roles have provided an increasing recognition of mobility issues around our built form, and the need for inclusive sport and recreation, open space quantum and community spaces – people need to gather and we must provide for this through the draft planning scheme and its consultation.  

Why should people who live in the Coolum and North Shore region vote for you?  

I am not a career politician- I have never been aligned or a member of a political party and am committed to local government. I grew up in Division 8, it’s my home and the home is where the heart is.  As an executive member of the peak rate payer association over eight years I have been entrenched in the machinations of council, senior bureaucrats and our planning instruments including those technical aspects of planning. I have sound knowledge in governance and process and understand the ‘how’ in terms of providing good outcomes.  

Tim Ryan. Photo: Contributed.



Why are you running? 

I am running in this election to restore the reputation of council workers and give them recognition for their service and stop the sale and subletting of its assets.  

What is one of your main concerns for the region and how will you address this?  

My concerns are the development of new housing on known flood plains, and I would like to stop it and if not design the drainage. 

What is your background?  

I have lived on the coast for 58 years and worked at the Maroochy Shire Council for more than 13 years and I drove a cab for 32 years on the coast. 

Why should people who live in the Coolum and North Shore region vote for you?  

I know the inner workings of the council and would like to put a big input to the airport. 

Walter Johnson did not respond to the Advertiser’s questions.  

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