High profile candidates battling it out for division 4

By Hannah Turner and Akira Kato

A former mayor, rugby coach, lawyer and businessman are setting the competition up to be fierce in the Division 4 council election.

Division 4 Cr John Connolly played and coached rugby teams in Brisbane, Darwin and overseas before deciding to turn to politics.

He told the Sunshine Coast Daily politics and coaching were similar in regard to dealing with people, teamwork and finding success.

Former Maroochy mayor Joe Natoli has held leadership and civic roles for more than 30 years holding the mayoral position from 2004 to 2008.

The remaining two candidates Julian Porter and Todd Forrest have both stated that their current positions as a businessman and a lawyer will help them as council members.

The boundaries of Division 4. Source: ECQ.

About the division

Division 4 covers Alexandra Headland, Buddina, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Parrearra and Warana.

The boundaries of Division 4 have changed since the last election to gain more voters.

The division has gained an additional portion of Maroochydore (Division 8) and gained more of Warana (Division 3) including areas such as Cotton Tree.

According to the Electoral Commission Queensland the division has 22,924 voters.

Key issues

Due to the impact of increased population growth, parking and road congestion are some of the biggest issues in the division.

To help reduce the traffic congestion between Brisbane Rd in Mooloolaba, the council has been discussing the widening of Brisbane Rd and Walan St.

Parking congestion in Mooloolaba. Source: Akira Kato

This will become known as the Mooloolaba Transport Corridor Upgrade.

According to The Sunshine Coast Daily parking has been a pressing issue in suburbs such as Mooloolaba in previous years.

Despite the Sunshine Coast Council providing free parking throughout the busiest spot on the coast it is still difficult to find a car park.

To combat this issue council are discussing introducing paid parking and undertaking a $18 million redevelopment of the Brisbane Rd carpark in the beach suburb.

Meet the candidates

Cr John Connolly. Source: Sunshine Coast Council website.

Cr John Connolly

John Connolly is the current councilor for Division 4 and has been since 2016.

According to The Sunshine Coast Council website he stands for junior and elite sports, creating jobs, economic development, keeping beaches clean and developing good community infrastructure.

He doesn’t specify any policies regarding improving road congestion and parking within Division 4.

Julian Porter. Source: Instagram (porterdiv4).

Julian Porter

Julian Porter is an independent candidate who has lived in Maroochydore since 2006.

“I believe the skills I have developed as a community lawyer, listening, analysing and persuading, can be put to better use serving Division 4 as councillor,” he said.

To combat key issues of parking and road congestion he believes in no paid parking at beaches and improving public transport, footpaths, streetlights and road crossings.

He also stands for building infrastructure for a growing population, boosting outdoor recreation, creating more off leash areas and introducing a smart rubbish system including kerbside collection and collecting of organic waste.

Joe Natoli. Source: www.joenatoli4four.com

Joe Natoli

Joe Natoli stands for no paid parking, free public transport for seniors, building a multi-modal transport corridor and improving infrastructure such as roads and car parks to combat key issues in this area.

He also says he would extend pathways, create new long-term sustainable jobs, protect the environment, support development in sports and the arts, more youth facilities, stop plans for a casino and support  community, charity and service groups.

Todd Forrest. Source: www.toddforrest.com.au

Todd Forrest

Todd Forrest has lived on the coast for 40 years and is familiar with ongoing concerns in the division.

In order to address key issues of road congestion and parking he stands for free parking in Mooloolaba, reducing traffic congestion and improving public transport to be more accessible, reliable, safe and frequent.

He also says he believes in balancing population growth with appropriate infrastructure, supporting small businesses, preserving the coastline and considering the environment in new developments and ensuring new projects treat the community with respect.

Where to vote

The local council election is being held on March 28th 2020.

The Electoral Commission Queensland’s website lists all polling booths.

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