DIVISION 6: Here are your council candidates

Gold Coast’s local council elections are coming up on the 28th of March, with over 50 people gunning for seats at chambers.

Early voting is now underway, with eleven places to vote open to locals from today.

myGC is going through division by division, to give you a closer look at the candidates.


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Division 6 includes the suburbs of Ashmore, Benowa, Bundall and Southport.

It’s currently held by Dawn Crichlow who is retiring, though she’s publicly backed Shaelee Welchman to be her successor.

The candidates, as they appear on the ballot paper, are Shaelee Welchman, Michael Pulford, Brooke Patterson, Josephine Tobias and Susie Gallagher.

myGC put some simple questions to the candidates, here’s how they responded.

Shaelee Welchman

A few words about yourself:

My husband and I live in a house we renovated in Southport with our two children.
I’ve 20 years Council experience and am passionate about shaping a safe, inclusive
and prosperous future for all our children.

Are you a member of/ or affiliated with a political party – if so, which one?

I joined the LNP in August 2019. When thinking about running for division 6, I thought it was important to show voters generally where my values lay.

Please list your top three policies for your division.

  • Revitalise the CBD – cleaning up the streets, taking responsibility for the social issues and homelessness and increasing safety. I want to move Town Hall back to Southport to encourage office development and bring back workers.
  • Support our local sporting clubs and events – invest in our local sporting clubs to ensure they have access to the best facilities to grow and attract members. I have committed $300,000 from Local Area Works funds to kick start the upgrade of the Queens Park Tennis Centre.
  • Reinvent our local parks – I want the community to feel like they own their local parks. As important as social meeting places, for exercise, recreation and adventure, my local parks plan will ensure every resident will be able to walk to a great park.

Why should locals vote for you?

You should vote for me because I love our local area and want to see it succeed, I am on your side, l will listen and genuinely represent your interests, I have the know how to solve problems and chase new opportunities, I have the experience to deliver for our community from day one.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest issue facing the whole of the Gold Coast? And what should Council as a whole be doing about it?

The biggest issue facing the city are the challenges associated with population growth. Our City is expected to nearly double over the next twenty years. We need to plan for and manage this growth otherwise traffic and infrastructure will not be able to cope, social issues will increase, and our natural environment will be impacted.

Council as a whole needs take a localised approach to how our communities will evolve, to protect what we love about our neighbourhoods, support communities and enhance our lifestyle. As a Council we need to involve everyone in planning the future of our City.

We also need to create jobs by supporting our local businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs, leveraging our existing advantages in tourism, health and education and professional services like the legal sector so that our university graduates can work in our city, and position the Gold Coast as a desirable business and lifestyle location in the Asia-Pacific regions.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I hope everyone takes an interest in our City’s future and decides on the candidate that genuinely cares for our community. My local knowledge and Council experience means I can deliver from day one. Shaelee is endorsed by Cr Dawn Chrichlow OAM as her successor.

 

Michael Pulford

A few words about yourself:

I am a passionate, energetic, persistent, honest and fair person. I am a local Gold Coaster for almost 20 years and I fight for the underdog.

Are you a member of/ or affiliated with a political party – if so, which one?

No, I am completely independent, never belonged to a political party in my life and have never supported one

Please list your top three policies for your division.

  • Fixing traffic chaos
  • Improve community safety
  • Revitalise CBD and boost local jobs

Why should locals vote for you?

Because I have a myriad of skills which would prove invaluable to this position. I have run a successful recruitment business in Division 6 for almost 17 years, I understand the local employment market better than most, I have served on numerous boards and committees for more than a decade and have been tasked with making important decisions, operationally, financially and strategically, I give back to the community in my volunteer life saving capacity and I raise money annually through an event I organise (the proceeds of which go to local charitable causes), I am a family man so I understand that the councillor position is not just about serving voters but also their families. And finally I am someone who can find solutions to problems and get things done so we can move onto solving the next problem.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest issue facing the whole of the Gold Coast? And what should Council as a whole be doing about it?

The Gold Coast as a whole, I would say traffic congestion. As our population continues to explode, we really need to have our finger on the pulse here. The council is fixing some of these issues but the approach appears to be a “band aid” one rather than a long term approach. Council should be banging down State Governments door for more money for these vital infrastructure projects.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I am a massive Titans fan (ask Paul Gale) having been a corporate sponsor since the team entered the NRL, my campaign colours reflect this. The blue representing the Gold Coast waterways/ocean and blue skies and the yellow representing the sun and the sand.

 

Brooke Patterson

A few words about yourself:
Brooke Patterson is a third generation local. A Mum and finance professional—able to make sure your hard-earned rate dollars don’t get wasted.

Are you a member of/ or affiliated with a political party – if so, which one?

I am a member of LNP but not owned by anyone – not accepting donations

Please list your top three policies for your division.

  • Roads, rate and footpaths -get back to basics – fixing our roads, footpaths, drains and parking
  • Connecting our community – e.g. park upgrades so neighbours and families get out and meet up
  • Make our Southport CBD clean and safe

Why should locals vote for you?

I am self-funded, and totally focussed on residents. I’m the candidate connecting our community.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest issue facing the whole of the Gold Coast? And what should Council as a whole be doing about it?

The bureaucrats have taken control. We need to get back to making sure rate payers’ money is spent where it is meant to – on things like fixing our roads, footpaths and parks.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Shout out to all the people I have met door-knocking over the past 6 months. I’m doing this for you, your neighbours, your community.

 

Josephine Tobias

A few words about yourself:

I stand on my proven results in corporate governance, business , tourism , property management and the community.

Current President of the GC Show Society, founder of Women at Work and International women’s day leadership Awards.

Are you a member of/ or affiliated with a political party – if so, which one?

No political alliances, I am truly Independent candidate not campaigning in the shadow of a political Party or a former Councillor.

Please list your top three policies for your division.

  • The new Division 6 needs to literally be put on the tourism and visitor map as destination for visitations , sports and recreational events, we have world class parks to include Broadwater Parklands and the Botanical Gardens and this is never communicated to the visitor market. We are the home of Magic Millions Carnival and we must use this as a catalyst to showcase our accommodation and shopping etc.
  • Lift the imagine of CDB with a new way of thinking and new branding about how to attract locals back to shop, and dine and eat local
  • We must improve delivery to all residents of the grassroots services to include of Rubbish, footpaths crossing, rates and roads. We must be available to listen and act NOW.

Why should locals vote for you?

I will be a Councillor and Civic Leader not only for Division 6 but the whole of the GC I know the issues across the city and I will be the voice of the people and the voice of change

I will lead collaboratively and passionately with respect for the residents and business leaders views, and my integrity and experience will deliver results .

I am known for “ just getting things done” and do not wait for tomorrow.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest issue facing the whole of the Gold Coast? And what should Council as a whole be doing about it?

I believe the Council has lost the trust of the people and we no longer deliver the diversity of experiences that lead not only to great visitor outcomes but makes for good business results

For local business across all sectors !

A new Council will require to rebrand the City to be a safe and exciting Destination of Choice for the locals friends and families, intra state ,interstate and international visitors by offering a diverse range of new . I do not believe this should just be delegated to tourism or business authorities alone , it must be inclusive of the vision the locals hold for our future

Anything else you’d like to add?

I strongly believe in transparency of government processes and decisions and I would like to see changes made to the process of the delegated authority for planning decisions

 


Susie Gallagher

A few words about yourself:

Susie is the Managing Director of a NDIS registered Disability Service and has extensive and varied industry experience across higher education, community service, construction and hospitality. She is a passionate disability and education advocate and a former tutor and lecturer at Griffith Business School. Her family has been part of the fabric of Southport for over 47 years.

Are you a member of/ or affiliated with a political party – if so, which one?

No, I have never been a member of any political party.

Please list your top three policies for your division.

  • The homelessness is a major issue in Division 6 – it requires a planned and coordinated approach that utilizes both federal and state resources coupled with a small team of dedicated and proven community groups on the ground working together to pool their financial and intellectual resources to find short, medium and long term solutions to the problem. Blanket punitive measures help no one; and clog up our jails and courts and pit humans against humans. There is no time for posturing, this is about people who need love, care, support and a purpose…..help them feel worthy of those things and support them to help themselves.
  • Keep our streets clean (and potholes filled) – if that means bring hard rubbish day back, then let’s do that….if it was too expensive the way we used to do it – let’s find a new way! Fight for changes to planning and building laws to ensure more sustainable and environmentally friendly development – reuse, reduce, recycle…..cradle to cradle concepts for building, zero emissions, all new building should have water tanks and solar power at a minimum!
  • I don’t believe enough consideration is given to the elderly and disabled citizens who we live side by side with. I would like to see a Disability Advisory Committee established to ensure that developments, town planning, tourism and general operations are parking and public transport availability and accessibility are major issues and no one is discussing how these things or development affect our elderly and disabled citizens. I would like to start by conducting an accessibility audit of council facilities and improve accessibility for all – not on our own in consultation with appropriate bodies.

Why should locals vote for you?

Because I have 2 ears and 1 mouth and will listen twice as much as I speak!

I believe the job is to act as a conduit between the people and the council by strengthening connections, solving problems and finding solutions for the locals with the locals.

I know and love this area, its history and its characters. I was raised here and I am not a politician just someone who wants to help do the right thing by the people who get knocked down or overlooked too often.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest issue facing the whole of the Gold Coast? And what should Council as a whole be doing about it?

The selling off our own assets including our green and open spaces;
They need to stop selling things to finance their operations…or worse useless, expensive feasibility studies, tighten the budget, reduce the use of consultants, monitor KPI’s of their staff to deliver on budget

Anything else you’d like to add?

I grew up in the centre of Southport and attended Southport Kindergarten, Guardian Angels , Star of the Sea College and much later Griffith University.

A return to the basics, we should be ensuring funds are kept in the community and used to support local businesses, artists, designers, placing a stop to sending money overseas and wasting resources on international junkets for things that are outside its purview.

 

**Note: the candidates have been listed in the order that they will appear on the ballot paper on March 28.

For more information about voting, click here.

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