By Evangeline Bryce and Dani Sharp
With upcoming local elections set to take place on March 28, a new defender for the hinterland must take up the mantle of Division 10.
Quadruple the size of other Coast divisions, the zone is suffering from a lack of attention and provides a long list of issues for nominees to tackle.
The retirement of sitting Cr Greg Rogerson has prompted seven official candidates to offer themselves for the role.
About the division
Known for the hinterland gems it contains, Division 10 ranges from Nambour all the way to Eumundi, as far west as Conondale National Park and all the green in between.
Rural Australians are no strangers to being overlooked in favour of those living on the coast – they watch as roads deteriorate, community funding is cut and controversial development.
In 2017 the council made plans to move all high-paid staff from Nambour to the new city hall in Maroochydore CBD, the construction of which is to be completed in 2022.
Cr Rogerson fought against the move, seeking an impact assessment to be carried out before it was agreed on, though his position was overruled.
The Nambour Activation Plan, established in October 2015, promised it would become the ‘Gateway to the Hinterland’ and foster the town’s redevelopment.
The plan aims to facilitate better public transport connections, initiate a cultural hub at the popular C-Square, and develop a multi-million-dollar waterpark to rejuvenate tourism.
The Heritage Tramway on Howard Street is also set for a face-lift, becoming home to markets and other small events.
Though five years into the tramway project, no ground has been broken and little progress seems to have been made.
While serving in Division 10, Cr Rogerson has focused on youth and sporting opportunities and declared his replacement must be someone willing to stand up for the hinterland as he stands down in order to spend more time with his wife.
Meet the candidates
By the close of nominations on March 3 there are seven certified candidates.
Life-long local and recent university graduate, 21-year-old Cortney Claridge is the youngest candidate running.
She describes herself as a woman who believes in service above self, and says she is determined to deliver a region where all can “live, work and play”.
Having completed studies in social science, international relations, security and public policy, the Division 10 hopeful presents herself as a “candidate without an agenda”.
Miss Claridge plans to support clubs and community groups within the area, which she says are invaluable assets to the populace.
David Law is a candidate with a strong moral compass and clear Nambour focus, having lived in the town for 18 years.
He is one of several self-funded candidates without any party affiliations and has more than 15 years’ experience in disability employment services, now serving as a national manager.
Mr Law says he is passionate about representing hinterland communities fairly and strongly supports the redevelopment of Nambour, including the Nambour tram project.
The candidate also intends to strengthen mental health initiatives and plans to reinvigorate the town centre with Special Entertainment Precinct zoning.
Thirty-seven-year local and mother of two, Sue Etheridge is the Greens Party candidate for Division 10.
Ms Etheridge has experience in the financial sector, having worked as an accounts manager for her own small business and a loans officer for the Commonwealth Bank, and has served as treasurer of the Sunshine Coast Environmental Council since 2012.
The candidate has controversially declared she will begin live streaming all meetings held by Council once elected in order to promote democracy.
Ms Etheridge says she is passionate about climate action and one of her key policies is for the Sunshine Coast Council to announce a climate emergency.
She has also expressed interest in supporting new and existing local businesses while ending donations from big corporations.
Paul Monaghan is a name many may have heard before in his recent run for the Member for Fisher with the Love Australia or Leave party.
He secured 1564 votes for the staunch anti-immigration party, 1.6 per cent of the region.
Mr Monaghan, owner of Paul Monaghan Plumbing, is one of two candidates with disclosed donations on the ECQ’s public donation disclosure system, the largest totalling $415 from fellow local business Drain Surgeon.
For his 2020 Division 10 Candidacy, the 48-year-old firearms instructor wants to bring back kerbside collections, limit waste spending and increase dog parks.
Hilary Wallace has worked for the Sunshine Coast Council for 17 years, spending the last nine as councillor’s assistant to Cr Rogerson.
The 50-year-old Mapleton local believes her existing network of relationships within Council will be an asset as local representative.
Her key interests include town-specific initiatives such as the Eumundi Streetscape Project and solving Yandina’s parking issues.
Ms Wallace also intends to begin stage two of the Mapleton Lilliponds pathway and investigate the potential part-occupation of the Nambour Council Chambers by the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Another independent candidate is 40-year-old Matthew Filippi, who believes leadership is “service above self, always”.
Mr Filippi made it clear he would not be accepting donations to fund his campaign, however the ECQ disclosure system shows over $11,000 donated from and to himself.
With experience in several state and federal leadership roles, the Iraq War veteran will be prioritising common-sense, effectiveness and future-proofing the economy.
Keith Campbell has adopted a more grassroots approach to this election, running most of his campaign through meet-and-greets and his Facebook page.
The 57-year-old local’s political interests include improving accountability and openness in local councils and preserving the hinterland lifestyle.
Mr Campbell says he will make community-minded and sustainable decisions to propel Division 10 into the future.
Where to vote
As election voting is compulsory, it is important to know where and how to vote and avoid those nasty fines.
Early voting commences Monday, March 16 and will close by 6.00pm Friday, March 27, 2020.
Locations for these services are constantly changing, so keep up-to-date with the Queensland Electoral Commission (QEC) to find out where to vote for your division.
Postal voting is also available for those busy on election day, and online forms can be accessed on the QEC’s website.
Polling booth locations for Division 10 are still being decided, so ensure you are enrolled and keep visiting the Queensland Electoral Commission for more details.