Vanessa Hall  


ON MARCH 16 of this year Queenslanders will head to the ballot box for the first of two outings this year with the Queensland Local Government Elections set to be conducted first. Later in the year, the state will collectively go to the ballot box again.  

In just under three weeks Sunshine Coast residents will have the opportunity to vote for who will represent them in their divisions and also for the role of Sunshine Coast Mayor.  

The mayoral position will see a new face take up the job with Mayor Mark Jamieson stepping down after first taking up the position in April 2012- a considerable tenure at the helm of the fifth-largest local government area in Queensland.  

Six candidates are vying to be the next mayor and here the Advertiser asked all six the same questions and their responses verbatim are as follows.  

Rosanna Natoli. Photo: Contributed.


Why are you running? I’m passionate about this place and the people who call it home. But, I feel our community hasn’t been listened to, and this has inspired me to act. People tell me they don’t want to become another Gold Coast and it’s about managing the growth while maintaining our lifestyle. We cannot put the needs of those to come, ahead of the people living here already. I want to be a Mayor for the people, someone who cares about the region and can give locals hope for a better future.   

What is one of your main concerns & how will you address it? The two big issues are the projected population growth and public transport.  With 200,000 people due to come in the next 20 years, we are under enormous pressure.  We must demand our fair share of infrastructure from state and federal governments, and I will fight to protect our lifestyle. The Sunshine Motorway must be expanded – the daily traffic and safety issues Coolum and North Shore residents have to face is unacceptable.  

What is your background?I have lived on the Sunshine Coast for 34 years, and I have been a journalist and presenter for 7News for 29 years which has given me a unique opportunity to really understand the broader community and what matters most. I am also a researcher and academic at the University of the Sunshine Coast, where I lecture in journalism. Over three decades, I have volunteered with scores of charities and community groups. 

Have you ever been a member of a political party? No. Being impartial and unbiased is an essential part of my career as a journalist. 

Why should people who live in the Coolum and North Shore region vote for you?As I have travelled across the region on my ‘Listening Tour’, I have heard from Coolum and North Shore residents, that they’ve been missing out. North of the river does not receive an equitable share of the budget; it is time to go back to basics.  I will return the focus to delivering better roads, maintenance of parks and streets, beaches and facilities. I want to have a curbside pick-up and free tip vouchers. 

Why are the Coolum and North Shore regions so great? The North Shore has the most beautiful beaches and environment – it is pristine. The people are friendly and vibrant and the way of life here is relaxed. All of these elements deserve our protection. 

Jason O’Pray. Photo: Contributed.


Why are you running?  Born and raised on the Sunshine Coast, I understand the importance of protecting our lifestyle, our environment, small businesses and the fabric of our communities. I’ve dedicated over 40 years of service to Surf Life Saving and have owned and operated multiple small businesses across the region before being elected in 2012 to the Sunshine Coast Council as Division 8 Councillor.  

What is one of your main concerns & how will you address it? I want to make sure that the next council builds on the economic success of the last 12 years to continue to deliver the better, higher-paying jobs our region needs. We have a region with thousands of jobs in the pipeline, in new, high-value industries that will increase wages and living standards and raise the Sunshine Coast’s average household income above the state average.  

What is your background?I am a third-generation Sunshine Coast local, small business owner, and 12-year councillor for Division 8 on the Sunshine Coast Council. 
Have you ever been a member of a political party? No 

Why should people who live in the Coolum and North Shore region vote for you? We want to be something other than another Gold Coast. We must ensure that with our population growth, the newest arrivals to the coast get the same experience as everyone who calls here home. I understand the significance of safeguarding our natural beauty, fostering strong communities, and preserving the spirit that makes our home special. The Sunshine Coast isn’t just a place on the map; it’s our way of life.  

Why are the Coolum and North Shore regions so great?  Coolum and the North Shore make the Sunshine Coast and Hinterland unique. It’s where the beach meets the Hinterland, and everything in our region is condensed into one area. It’s been my privilege to serve this great region as your Division 8 Councillor for the past 12 years and I will continue to represent you and your interests as mayor of the Sunshine Coast.  

Wayne Parcell. Photo: Contributed.


Why are you running? I embarked on this campaign after careful consideration and because I have a strong sense of purpose about what I am seeking to achieve for the community.  Growing up in challenging circumstances in public housing, my resilience supports my purpose of improving life for everyone around me.  I believe it is important that the community is given a serious choice about who they choose to elect as their mayor and my skills and experience are fundamentally different to those of other candidates, so there is a real choice available.  

What is one of your main concerns & how will you address it? Effective decision-making requires a council that listens attentively to the diverse needs and concerns of each community. Informed decisions can follow greater transparency of process and a greater acceptance of outcomes where there is clarity in explanation and understanding of the outcomes.  Bravery is needed so that the community has a leader who is focused on performance and not politics.  Authentic leadership experience can take the region forward, so we balance progress with the preservation of what we hold dear. 

What is your background? I am a solicitor, married with two adult children.  I grew up in public housing in Brisbane and I am here today because of the support people gave to me.  My 40 years of experience in government in Australia and overseas (15 years), my own business (more than 12 years) and global business experience (more than a decade) means I can deal with significant budgets, complex national and international issues, and negotiate with other levels of government and business, to deliver outcomes for the benefit of the entire community.   

Have you ever been a member of a political party? I was a member of the LNP for one year and resigned in March 2023 because the party’s values did not align with mine. 

Why should people who live in the Coolum and North Shore region vote for you? Now, more than ever we need authentic leadership experience to responsibly manage the Sunshine Coast Council’s $1billion budget.  The Coolum and the North Shore Region deserve to have confidence that their voice is given full consideration in a strategic approach to the whole region.  We need compliance and consultation rather than cartels of influence. I endorse meaningful consultation and we need to balance preservation with progress that recognises that our communities have their own unique character, framed by our region’s outstanding natural beauty.  I will be a mayor for Coolum and the North Shore Region, and the whole Sunshine Coast. 

Why are the Coolum and North Shore regions so great? Coolum and the North Shore are unique with their own unique community of interests and diversity of natural beauty, lifestyles and aspirations.  

Ashley Robinson. Photo: Contributed.


Why are you running? I firmly believe if I can get the job, I can do the job. I don’t need the job. But I care too much for this place and the people who live here, not to put my hand up. I will stand up for ratepayers and change the culture of the place to ensure they are front and centre of the council’s focus.  

What is one of your main concerns & how will you address it? As stated there is a cultural issue in the council that needs to be addressed immediately. It is clear the council has lost the ability to properly listen to the community it is meant to serve. I intend to identify where the problem lies and fix it as a priority.  

What is your background? Born in Nambour, raised in Eudlo and went to school at Nambour High. I’ve been in hotel management for the past 30-odd years most recently nearly 14 years as general manager of Alex Surf Club. Before stepping aside for this campaign, I was chair of the Sunshine Coast Falcons Rugby League Club. I’ve also been head of the Sunshine Coast Rugby League, chair of the Gaming Community Benefit Fund and the Caloundra Events Centre. My wife and I are both life members of the Sippy Creek Animal Refuge, I’m a Shine a Light on Racism ambassador and a co-founder of the Island Charity Swim that assists the region’s special schools and has done so for 23 years now.  

Have you ever been a member of a political party? No. I’m an unaligned, independent candidate for the job. 

Why should people who live in the Coolum and North Shore region vote for you? Because I will be mayor for the entire Sunshine Coast. I’m detail-driven and any administration I lead will get back to getting all the little things right. 

Why are the Coolum and North Shore regions so great? My brother Lindsay lived at Pacific Paradise with his family for a number of years. Back in my youth, I worked at Surfair in the days of the big touring bands. I know the place, love its beaches and respect the volunteering efforts of groups defending turtle nesting sites and caring for the beach. I’ve also been blown away by the resilience of residents who are prepared to organise, raise money and then go to the courts to defend what they believe to be right. 

Min Swan. Photo: Contributed.


Why are you running? As a business leader, long-term local, mother and community contributor I felt a responsibility to ensure the next four critical years in the history of the Sunshine Coast were in the hands of a mayor who had a strong business background, was people-focused, could deliver a return on the investments already vested by the current council, could create a cohesive team for strong and certain decision making, attract the infrastructure we need and ensure we were championing vibrant and unified communities, all whilst giving the community a voice. 

What is one of your main concerns & how will you address it? The main concern is that without balanced and planned growth under solid stewardship, we will lose what is unique to our region, degrade our environment and end up creating outcomes that will have generational consequences.   

What is your background?Starting my self-employed career at 21 in financial services, growing that business to one of the largest in South East Queensland before joining the Executive Team of a large National organisation in Sydney to lead a five-year strategic planning review.  Returning to the Sunshine Coast 15 years ago I established the successful events management firm White House International which is heavily ingrained in both the business and wider community.   

Have you ever been a member of a political party? No, I am an independent candidate who knows the importance of being able to work with all parties and all levels of government in a productive way.  

Why should people who live in the Coolum and North Shore region vote for you? As an accessible mayor who genuinely believes each part of our incredible region is a jewel in the crown, I will work alongside councillors, chamber of commerce, community associations and other such organisations to reimagine the possibilities for each community, identify the hurdles to success and activate advisory groups that are representative of diverse interests.   

Why are the Coolum and North Shore regions so great? The connection to nature, environment and community are what makes Coolum and the North Shore region special.  The home of sustainable business, the region has attracted investors and residents who choose to live in Coolum but often work from anywhere in the world. The beaches are looked after by residents and there are always initiatives to be more environmentally and community focused. 

Candidate Michael Burgess did not respond to the Advertiser’s questions.  

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