Introducing Rockhampton's Most Influential Fifty (Nos 41-50) banner
Introducing Rockhampton's Most Influential Fifty (Nos 41-50) banner

Rockhampton’s 50 Most Influential people: Numbers 21-30

LIKE 'em, love 'em or "never heard of 'em", these are your locals who strive to make Rockhampton a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Some of them were born here and some of them moved here to make the most of the family-friendly facilities, opportunities for employment or to spend more time with their extended families.

Whether they're a community leader or someone working hard behind the scenes, we think you'll be surprised how humble and grateful our Fifty Most Influential are.


MORE COUNTDOWN HERE: Rockhampton's 50 Most Influential people: Numbers 50 to 41

MORE COUNTDOWN HERE: Rockhampton's 50 Most Influential people: Numbers 40 to 31



NWN AUS ARTS Busby Marou, aka Thomas Busby and Jeremy Marou
NWN AUS ARTS Busby Marou, aka Thomas Busby and Jeremy Marou

The meeting of two blokes in a Rockhampton pub lad to one of the country's fastest raising musical duo, Busby Marou. Their album Postcards from the Shell House debuted at number one in the ARIA charts; they released their fourth studio album last year.

Jeremy Marou was born in Rockhampton but his family maintains close connection to Murray Island.

He was "blown away", during a recent visit, by how rising sea levels are affecting the Torres Strait communities, and is working with the Queensland Government to find lower-emission energies they can use there.

"There are not too many high profile people coming out of there, so I'm feeling like I should step up," he said.

And on a more personal level, after Marou was nearly felled by a heart attack while playing touch football in Rockhampton, he has had to make massive changes to his lifestyle, providing an example of good living choices to his young family and followers.



CQ Law Association president Samantha Legrady with District Court Judge Michael Burnett.
CQ Law Association president Samantha Legrady with District Court Judge Michael Burnett.

Michael Burnett is a judicial officer having been appointed to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in 2006. In October 2014 he was appointed to the District Court of Queensland and is the resident judge in Rockhampton.

Following admission as a solicitor in 1982 and prior to practice as a barrister he was employed as a solicitor and in government in regional Queensland.

He has been a member of the reserve forces for more than 25 years and is presently the Deputy Judge Advocate General (Air Force) for the ADF holding the rank of Air Commodore.

He maintains an active involvement in the RAAF Reserve, is a director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and is an enthusiastic private pilot.









Bronwyn Fenech of FM Studios
Bronwyn Fenech of FM Studios

From award winning stylist to director of the award-winning design studio - "making businesses look great on print and on the web", for 18 years now - Bronwyn Fenech has cut a bright and bubbly path through Central Queensland's numerous networks.

With a string of business awards to her name, Ms Fenech has parlayed her strengths into helping other local businesses strengthen their brands.

Dedicated to the local community, Bronwyn serves on boards including Every Child Central Queensland, Rockhampton Art Gallery, and is a founding member or Capricorn LaunchPad and the Regional Business Women's Network.

"I love living and working in this great region, we really enjoy giving back to the local community that has supported us," she said.

In 2017 Ms Fenech was selected by the Federal Government to participate on a trade mission to Singapore in and then was one of five business women selected to represent Queensland founders and entrepreneurs in London.



Phillip Moulds of Rockhampton Grammar School
Phillip Moulds of Rockhampton Grammar School

Phillip Moulds joined The Rockhampton Grammar School in 2009, and is the ninth Headmaster of the School which was established in 1881.

In the past 10 years, RGS has produced outstanding student results, both in the areas of NAPLAN performance and Year 12 outcomes (OP, VET and Queensland Certificate of Education).

In 2019 a RGS student was the best performing student in Queensland.

Additionally, the school has excelled in the areas of co-curricular, service and student wellbeing.

Recently, Dr Moulds was recognised for his work in the education area nationally through a National Excellence in Teaching Award and Australian College of Educators Leadership Award.

Mr Moulds is involved in a number of community organisations in Central Queensland and also is a Director of the Board of independent Schools Queensland.





Number 26: SALLY VEA VEA

Aunty Sally Vea Vea at a NAIDOC event
Aunty Sally Vea Vea at a NAIDOC event

Darumbal Elder Aunty Sally Vea Vea carries on her ancestors' legacy of social justice and awareness campaigns not only for indigenous people but for all the residents of Central Queensland.

She works with women, in particular, "so they aren't in these situations of domestic violence, with no finances and no job prospects".

Aunty Sally Vea Vea, alongside Elder Uncle Billy Mann, played a key role in opening CQUniversity's Indigenous Student Support Yarning Circle and Sensory Garden Project.

She was also proactive in calling for the Government to change CQ site names which prove a painful reminder of our region's "dark history".









Mick Shearer
Mick Shearer

As regional executive director of the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, Mick Shearer has the unfortunate job of alerting our public officials to the frightening escalation of vulnerable and disadvantaged children cases in central Queensland.

His data revealed the percentage of at-risk children had exploded from 18.8 to 32.4 per cent in just six years leading up to 2018.

He is a coordinating member of the OneGovCQ Executive Leadership Group, a founding member of the Schools to Jobs Alliance (S2J), an Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) Executive Fellow, past Chair of liveWELLCQ, a primary health and human services partnership and previously Chair of the Community Leadership Group, Every Child CQ.

He has delivered direct child protection and juvenile justice services, managed multi-disciplinary teams in the juvenile detention system, offered HR consultancy, and led the delivery of a range of social housing, disability, child protection and Indigenous programs.



Morning Bulletin editor Frazer Pearce
Morning Bulletin editor Frazer Pearce

As editor of the region's leading news provider, The Morning Bulletin's Frazer Pearce scores a top 30 spot in the Most Influential list.

Mr Pearce took over as editor in 2006 and has built a reputation as a champion for the region with a swag of successful campaigns under his leadership.

These include the Flood Proof Rocky's Highway campaign after the 2011 flood which cut off the city for two weeks.

The campaign was relentless, and irresistible, and resulted in the $174m Yeppen South floodplain bridge being built.

It won The Morning Bulletin the APN News Award for Best Campaigning Newspaper in 2011 - an award it won three times in four years.

The Bulletin was again a finalist for the award in 2016 with its Rockhampton Hospital Carpark campaign which resulted in government funding being used to build a hospital carpark for the first time in Australian history.

The most recent campaign success was the Fair Go for Our Fireys' project which demanded government compensation when volunteer firefighters were left out of pocket after weeks away from work during last year's devastating bushfire season. The Bulletin was the only media outlet to stand-up and fight for this initiative which was ultimately successful.

The Morning Bulletin sets the news daily agenda for the region under his guidance with a major focus on breaking big news first and while it supports those who advance the region, it calls to account people in power who would stand in the way of our progress.


David French
David French

David French built the Investment Collective from the ground up into a multi-disciplinary business with offices in both Rockhampton and Melbourne which manages $600 million worth of personal wealth, business consulting and external AFSL licensing.

He lists his specialities as "being able to strategically assess future outcomes" and lends his expertise to a number of community bodies and social bodies to help steer them in the right direction.

He has forged strong bonds in the areas of regional growth, disability support, the music industry and support for health professionals.

He is responsible for the development of the Capricorn Diversified Investment Fund.

Recently, Mr French has proved an outspoken advocate for reform to the very heart of Australia's economy, calling on political leaders to scrap "distinctly wasteful" welfare programs which deliver "little real benefit" in exchange for a universal wage, for example.

Our social structure, he says, has been "weakened by years of over regulation and populist distractions".


Number 22: NEIL FISHER

Rockhampton Airport Chair Neil Fisher
Rockhampton Airport Chair Neil Fisher

Horticulturalist, grandfather and Deputy Mayor of the Rockhampton Regional Council, Neil Fisher has been an amiable advocate for Central Queensland's beauty sports his whole life.

He began his political career to inform people about the advantages of being water-wise including water-wise gardening, and continues to celebrate all things botanical in his Morning Bulletin columns.

After a health scare in 2017, Cr Fisher began walking a different route every morning and encouraged other people to join him.

He has been at the forefront of footpath upgrades along Frenchville, and aims to open more walkways all the way between Mt Archer and the Fitzroy River.

One of his proudest moments was using his councillor funds to develop a pathway between North Rockhampton Special School and Meals on Wheels.

He is also an outspoken supporter of recycling, raising the barrage, growing Rockhampton Airport's potential and strengthening our region's relationship with Western Queensland.


Robert Schwarten
Robert Schwarten

Robert Schwarten began his political career in 1985 as an alderman with the Rockhampton City Council and served as a member for Rockhampton North between 1989 and 1992.

He was re-elected to Parliament in 1995 as the Member for Rockhampton and served as Minister for Public Works and Information and Communication Technology until 2011.

He remains outspoken in supporting the people his party historically looked after.

Just this year, Mr Schwarten decried the state of affairs surrounding juvenile crime, after his car was stolen.

"The millions and millions of dollars that we have been giving to organisations to help these people has been wasted," he said.

Numbers 11-20: online at The Morning Bulletin tomorrow (Thursday 2 June, 2020)