YOUR GUIDE: Rockhampton council candidates for 2016 election

THE Bulletin's online guide profiles candidates in the Rockhampton Regional Council election to assist you in deciding on who to vote for today.

There are 27 councillor candidates across the seven divisions for the Rockhampton Regional Council.

Six existing councillors will run for their division's seat again with only Greg Belz to retire from his Division 6 seat.
With nominations now closed and ballot paper lots drawn, The Bulletin is putting together guides to help readers get to know who is who in the local elections.

Guides include background information on the candidates as well as contact details and are placed in the order the candidates names will appear on ballot papers.

Click here to see which Division you are  in and where you go to vote

Click on the Division you wish to read the candidate profiles for: 










Division 1

Shane Latcham

Shane Latcham holds a teaching degree, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Computing and a Masters degree in Education.

He used to work as a primary school sports teacher but now spends his days at the club and with his children.

He is a volunteer at Suncity Sports Club.

Mr Latcham said he and his wife had spent seven years raising their children in the local outdoors where he saw a need for improved services.

"One focus is to be more available to the community and set up an office at the club so I can be available to discuss matters of importance," he said.

"It's important to be available and accessible.

"The second is to listen to the community and open up a dialogue with them.

"The third is to bring enthusiasm; I think I can bring a fresh approach to represent the Division 1 community."

Mr Latcham said years of playing with his children in the region's outdoors motivated him to campaign for more improved sports and shade equipment. Read more here: Family man campaigning for better outdoor services

Catherine George

Team McMillan: Catherine George. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Team McMillan: Catherine George. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Catherine is a Rockhampton born and educated business woman who is also a mother,  grandmother and third generation proprietor of George's - one of Rockhampton's iconic businesses.

"I have been fortunate during my career, to have gained valuable skills and experience in the private, public and charity sectors in Rockhampton and metropolitan Queensland and NSW," she said.

"But my heart has, and always will, belong to Rockhampton and Central Queensland.

"I am a dedicated advocate for Rockhampton and Central Queensland.

"As a local business operator, I have had serious concerns about the ongoing deterioration of the economic, social and cultural fabric of the Rockhampton region.  

"I am proud to have been selected as a member of mayoral candidate Michael McMillan's team, a passionate group of individuals from diverse backgrounds, who are motivated by one common goal:  to see the Rockhampton region once again prosper and achieve its full potential as the dynamic commercial heart of Central Queensland.  

"Michael McMillan and his team will bring a unique level of skills, experience and capability to the council chambers not seen before. 

"It is my promise to be accessible, consult, listen and work in partnership with all community stakeholders to create a stronger more prosperous community."

To contact Catherine ahead of the election day, you can email her or you can follow the Team McMillan Facebook page for updates or message. You can also follow Team McMillan on Twitter (@TeamMcMillan16) and Google+.


Cr Rose Swadling

Rose Swadling will chair today's communities committee meeting.
Rose Swadling

ROSE Swadling's motto has been "working together we will achieve" and it seems it has served her well over her 18 years as a local councillor.

The Division 1 councillor who was born and bred in Rockhampton has vowed to continue to advocate and assist community organisations in identifying and addressing local issues, while acting as a voice of representation if elected again.

The mother of two and grandmother of 14 said her family gave her the love, drive and support to serve the community and enable her to leave a sound legacy for the generations to follow.

"My focus has always been on promoting and supporting local business to grow in this region," she said.

"Graham and I established, owned and operated our own business in Rockhampton for over 28 years. This business is now owned by our youngest son and proudly employs third generation tradesmen painters as well as other local tradesmen."

"My motto has and always will be 'working together we will achieve'. If re-elected, I will continue to personally represent, identify and address local issues in consultation with you, my constituents."
Cr Swadling, who has volunteered for the region for more than 30 years, said she believed no problem was too small.

"My passion is for all things community and assisting and empowering those among us who need either a help up or a help out."

"Much still needs to be done to let our community become all that it wants to be and I feel that I have the passion, local knowledge and interest to promote the region to make that aspiration become a reality."

Cr Swadling is someone who believes no problem is too small.

She said she will go the extra mile to respond to every individual or group who comes to her with a concern, because "working along side the community provides the best results"


Division 2

Warren Acutt


Warren Acutt, division 2 candidate for Rockhampton Regional Council in 2016
Warren Acutt, division 2 candidate for Rockhampton Regional Council in 2016


Warren is a small business owner helping other small businesses grow.

"I don't want to be a politician; I want to be and believe I can be a good representative, by making a positive contribution to overseeing the management of our region.

"I'm Rocky born and bred and believe that is still a positive thing. I write a column in the Morning Bulletin each Wednesday called Aspire CQ -

"A visionary, some say dreamer, I'm also a husband to one, father of four, run my own business helping small businesses grow, on the board of Anglicare CQ, co-organise Rockhampton Innovative Networking Group  - and Communications to Careers (C2C), Secretary Cressy Tennis Club (some members say I play alright), done lecturing at the CQUni in marketing, been on the board of Capricorn Tourism and Development Organisation and was President of Rockhampton Chamber of Commerce.

"Now is the time to turn some of my aspirations into reality by becoming an independent councillor.

"I am not part of a team, in a party, aligned to any mayoral candidate. I am independent, not having or seeking any big backers just seeking to be your representative.

"I do have my passions and one that is in all of our interests is getting more of our youth employed and engaged in the community.

"That's why I co-organise C2C, go to Community Cabinet meetings only to bang my head at the lack of interest the Department Head of Education has about state school secondary students meeting local business people and critical of government decisions to cease school/business/community partnership broker initiatives like YouthInvest.

"If elected I will be pro-active in creating jobs, be it the jobs that Mount Archer Activation Plan can generate through sport and eco-tourism or the 50 or more that due to effective marketing a major business decides to set up in the region.

"If I can't look in the mirror at the end of four years and say I've helped create some jobs in the region you won't have to kick me out I won't stand again, because frustration will have got to me.

"I'm only standing because I want to try, try to make Rockhampton region more - more opportunity, growth, enticing for people to visit, live and invest. I seek your vote; I believe I've got a good idea of what I would be getting into, but new enough to bring enthusiasm and genuine passion to it.

"Please consider what I will bring to the table -"

Tory Acton

Team McMillan: Tory Acton. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Team McMillan: Tory Acton. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Tory is a mother and a a fourth generation grazier, raised and has lived most of her life on cattle properties throughout Central Queensland.

"I am very proud to be part of a family who are renowned for a strong commitment to the community, and

valuable supporters of local organisations across our region.

"This region's future, its advancement and sustainability were paramount in my decision to run for council.

"I have decided to contest RRC's Division 2, as I wish to step away from my traditional roots and clearly demonstrate my genuine commitment and capacity to serve the broader community.

"Like many young mothers from across our region, I have genuine concerns regarding our children's future. I am appalled at our current unemployment rate, I am disgusted at our abhorrent rise in domestic violence and drug abuse and I am frustrated at the rapid decline in businesses.

"Growing and promoting the Rockhampton region is where my passion lies, in particular enticing and educating our regions youth and encouraging them to pursue the many opportunities within the agricultural sector.

"Known for my logical common sense approach and the ability to make things happen. If you have a problem in Division 2 that you believe requires attention, my ear will always be open.

"Having grown up in rural CQ I take very seriously the necessity of well maintained roads, creeks and the like."

Tory vows to a voice at council that won't be muted until Division 2 and she are all satisfied.

To contact Tory ahead of the election day, you can email her or you can follow the Team McMillan Facebook page for updates or message. You can also follow Team McMillan on Twitter (@TeamMcMillan16) and Google+.


Cr Neil Fisher

Councilor Neil Fisher with some of the shopping trolleys collected from Moores Creek during Clean Up Australia activities. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Councilor Neil Fisher with some of the shopping trolleys collected from Moores Creek during Clean Up Australia activities. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

FOR almost 120 years, Neil Fisher's family have lived in, and been involved with, the north Rockhampton community.

The Division 2 councillor, who was elected in 2012, has represented the residents of Frenchville, Koongal and Mount Archer, while being involved with the school communities of Frenchville State School, Mount Archer State School, North Rockhampton Special School and North Rockhampton High School.

While the councillor's division has undergone a name change and gained new residents, Mr Fisher said he was excited to continually dedicate his time to representing the area.

The father of four who is also the chair of the Central Queensland airport/aerodrome owners group said he believed he possessed the ability, enthusiasm and dedication required to represent the people of Division 2, as well as the entire council, just as he had in the past.

"Prior to being elected in 2012, I became concerned that a council policy had greatly harmed the reputation of the Rockhampton region within the resource sector," he said.

"After being elected, and with the support of the council table, our council took a very proactive approach with the resource sector."

Mr Fisher, who owns Fisher's Nursery said he had already made a number of changes to divisional issues but certain ones needed further attention which he hopes he can address if elected again.

Neil outside of council

Neil has been an;

Australian representative for two International Garden Festivals

Garden columnist for The Morning Bulletin for the last twenty years

Garden talk-back presenter for Radio 4RO's Garden Show for the last fifteen years

Married for 25 years with four children aged six to 23

Division 3

Susan Cunningham

Susan Cunningham is running for Division 3, Rockhampton Regional Council in the 2016 election.
Susan Cunningham is running for Division 3, Rockhampton Regional Council in the 2016 election.

Susan has been a professional officer with the Qld public service for 17 years.

"In these various positions I have read incoming technical reports, assessed site data against benchmarks and key performance objectives, scrutinised methods, critiqued results and recommended outcomes.  I have worked within legislation, due process and public sector ethics.

"A divisional councilor should have the skills and experience to move a citizen's concern along in a timely manner, obtaining background information, up-to-date professional advice if needed, and an appropriate solution. 

"It should not take 10 years of meetings and letters, an appeal to the Ombudsman and an independent engineers report to discover "the standard engineering solution" to a common urban problem."

Susan has been a resident of Koongal for 19 years. 

She has previously worked in advocacy roles, providing assistance to those who are stonewalled by bureaucratic processes so enabling them to be heard. 

"I have volunteered these skills on behalf of our neighbours and other Koongal residents in their approaches to council over the years.

"I'm the only candidate for Division 3 who lives in the Division and I'm independent of political parties.  I have a private meeting space for constituents at our home in Rockonia Road. 

"I have owned rental properties in Sydney and Brisbane as well as the two we currently have in this division. 

"I have a science degree from CQUni and two postgraduate degrees, all taken as a mature age student after dropping out of high school."

Cr Tony Williams

Tony Williams
Tony Williams

Through floods, fires and cyclones, Tony Williams has lived in North Rocky all his life and raised his family there. 

More recently, he has been the full-time councillor for Berserker, Koongal and Lakes Creek through two boundary changes.

"I've always made a point of getting about in my community and listening to people and I am always available by phone or appointment for personal meetings, and not just during election campaigns," he said.

Since becoming deputy mayor in 2012, Tony has been studying for a Diploma of Local Government so he can better represent both his division and the whole region.

Tony is proud of his role in successfully lobbying state and federal governments to gain funding for Stage 1 of the North Rockhampton flood mitigation project; the McLeod Park and Stack Street drainage upgrades, traffic lights on the corner of High and Dean Streets and many other projects.

"I get the job done. If the people of Division 3 decide to make me their Councillor again, I will seek funding to improve the north side of the riverbank; progress the Mount Archer Activation Plan; begin Stage 2 of the flood mitigation project; further develop the airport and support construction of Eden Bann and Rookwood weirs to boost the local economy.

"Recently, a number of Berserker residents identified that the lack of a concrete footpath in Berserker Street from Lakes Creek Road to Charles Street was a safety issue, so I will make that a priority.

"Importantly, as an independent and entirely self-funded, I'm not obligated to any party or interest group other than the people of Division 3.

"I'd like to thank them for the privilege of serving them and hope I am given the opportunity to continue to improve the place we all call home," Councillor Williams said.

Amanda Marshall

Team McMillan: Amanda Marshall. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Team McMillan: Amanda Marshall. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka


Amanda and her family are from a proud working class, country background.

"And I'm not afraid of working hard for what I believe in.

"If elected I am looking forward to working for Division 3 by getting out there and actively listening to people so they can be heard and working collaboratively to to fix issues raised. 

"While I don't currently reside in the division residents can trust that I will be working hard for the ratepayers with no personal motives. 

"I will not concentrate on issues that will 'feather my own nest' but will be for the benefit of the entire division.

"I have a long history in the health and social services sector. 

"I have a young family and know what it is like to have to run a house, work and pay bills in this economic climate. 

"I also have an extensive history of volunteering for various charities and community groups in Rockhampton. 

"My ultimate goal for Rockhampton would be to bring some life back to our region. 

"We live in a vibrant and diverse area of Queensland. 

"We have a university, access to the mining belt, a military training ground, a fully accessible airport and state of the art medical facilities. 

"Add that to a rich rural history and a diverse tourism offering with easy access from bush to beach, then we are in an area that is the pick of Queensland. 

"We need to manage and future proof Rockhampton so that it will not only grow but flourish. 

"My reasons for linking with Michael McMillan and his team is I believe that a team working with similar goals is more effective in getting things done than single minded agendas.

"An executive team all working for the greater good while remaining mindful of individual deliverables helps a business to grow and succeed. Council has a huge community and social obligation and must deliver upon its key objectives.

"Ultimately the council is representative of the people of Rockhampton.  We need a council that will be involved to effectively plan and develop the future of the region."

To contact Amanda ahead of the election day, you can email her or you can follow the Team McMillan Facebook page for updates or message. You can also follow Team McMillan on Twitter (@TeamMcMillan16) and Google+.


Division 4

Cr Ellen Smith

Ellen Smith is happy the Yeppen bridge will be officially open, saving travel time for commuters from Gracmere to Rockhampton. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Ellen Smith is happy the Yeppen bridge will be officially open, saving travel time for commuters from Gracmere to Rockhampton. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill

Ellen said she decided to run again because of her love of local government and the community and a will to see her various projects completed.

"There are still projects which I want to see carried through," Ms Smith said.

"For instance, the establishment of the library in Gracemere and a PCYC.

"I want to see more money spent on our roads, especially in our rural areas. (These areas) also don't get water and sewerage and all the things town people enjoy.

"I would like to see more of our unsealed roads and streets upgraded to bitumen standard."

Ms Smith went on to list concrete footpaths for Gracemere and Bouldercombe, the completion of the Cedric Archer Park upgrade, a four lane highway from Yeppen roundabout to the Gavial-Gracemere Rd and said pedestrian and traffic safety in Lawrie St was a critical issue.

But it was the Gracemere High School top of Ms Smith's list.

She was born in the Kabra area and attended the Gracemere State School and the Range College High School.

She travelled Australia extensively in her "younger" years but has lived in division 4 for most of her life and has called her Bouldercombe farm home for the past 25 years.

Ellen worked in the fuel industry for 30 years and is also a qualified disability respite carer and justice of the peace.

She served on the Fitzroy Shire Council from 2000 to 2008, was the Deputy Mayor from 2004 to 2008, took a four year break and was then re-elected in 2012.

Brett Wass

Team McMillan: Brett Wass. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Team McMillan: Brett Wass. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Brett Wass is an experienced local businessman.

A long term family resident of Gracemere, Brett has worked in and supplied engineering services to the resource sector for over 35 years and is committed to ensuring our region gains its fair slice of the resource pie.

"Key economic indicators are clearly showing that time is running out for our once great region," he said.

"We, as a community simply cannot afford to sit back and allow another four years like we have just had.

"Imagine where we will be economically by 2020, if we continue on this same business stifling path."

"Since the amalgamation of councils in 2008, our council has become a very big business and must be run as such.

"The necessary skills required to be an effective councillor have now evolved to be inclusive of immense technical knowledge to understand the many detailed reports being presented to you, a high level of business acumen to understand the regional fiscal implications of your decisions and effective communication skills to explain council`s thinking and position to the ratepayers.

"With an engineering based background, extensive business experience, strong community advocate skills and a sound knowledge of council procedures, I can confidently provide my constituents with the highest level of representation that they so rightly deserve, in this upcoming difficult time.

"People who know me, know that I have always been a strong outspoken voice for a fair go, due process and the right to be heard. This is the true cornerstone of democracy.

"I absolutely promise that if you contact me with an issue, I will investigate... and then get directly back to you, not avoid you. You as my employer deserve better than that.

"I can think of no greater honour than to serve our great region and its exceptional people."

To contact Brett ahead of the election day, you can email him or you can follow the Team McMillan Facebook page for updates or message. You can also follow Team McMillan on Twitter (@TeamMcMillan16) and Google+.

Division 5

Cr Cherie Rutherford

Cr Cherie Rutherford at Moores Creek where a fish ladder is being constructed. Photo Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin.
Cherie Rutherford is running for Rockhampton Regional Council Chris Ison

Cherie already has an impressive list of achievements under her belt when it comes to council projects and she wants to achieve more.

The Division 5 councillor said she stood for council to give back to the community and play a part in the continued development of the place she loves.

"It has been an absolute pleasure to work with council staff to realise some outstanding achievements," she said.

Ms Rutherford, who chairs the parks and recreation committee, said she ensured residents had access to herself and council officers.

"Through regular community catch-ups, consultation sessions, ratepayers' meetings or individual on-site meetings, I have been able to establish strong, effective relationships with residents and community groups," she said.

"These relationships have helped me gain an excellent understanding of the very diverse communities that make up Division 5."

Ms Rutherford said the Rockhampton region was her family's home and a place which supported and inspired her.

"It has been an honour and a privilege representing the people of Division 5."

She said she hopes to continue to represent the division with determination, honesty and integrity.

Bob Pleash


Team McMillan: Bob Pleash. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Team McMillan: Bob Pleash. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka


Bob has worked in the electricity industry for 43-years in Rockhampton (on leave from Ergon Energy for this election campaign) and has lived in Wandal with his family for the past 21 years.

"Throughout a my career, I have gained vast experience in corporate communications, crisis and disaster management, media and event management, as well as community and stakeholder engagement,' he said.

"At Ergon I fulfilled a key role and 24/7 on call capability to deal with emerging issues and response to major contingencies such as storms, floods, cyclones (Marcia), bush fires and electricity network issues."

Bob is the son of a former Emerald and Blackwater Primary Schools principal, and grandson of a former Mt Morgan Mine foreman.

It is through this extensive experience that he feels he understands the economic potential of the region and the challenges it faces.

He has served in a voluntary capacity on the board of directors of Capricorn Enterprise for the past four years.

"It is my intention, that if successful at the upcoming local government elections to help instil and drive this ethos and work ethic into not only the council team but also into the culture of the broader organisation," he said.

"In addition I also wish to influence a more inclusive culture between council and ratepayers, to help foster a renewed civic pride, understanding and appreciation of our great region and the local civic administration.

"It is exciting to be part of a team of like-minded people (Team McMillan) who realise what a great future this region has.

"When not at the "coal face" I enjoy outdoor activities, water sports and activities on our greatest asset, the mighty Fitzroy, and the tremendous coast line the region is noted for, working around the family home."

To contact Bob ahead of the election day, you can email him or you can follow the Team McMillan Facebook page for updates or message. You can also follow Team McMillan on Twitter (@TeamMcMillan16) and Google+.

Leyland Barnett

Driving instructor Leyland Barnett. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Driving instructor Leyland Barnett. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Leyland last ran for council in 2012 and he currently owns a driving school.

Mount Morgan's historical significance and tourism potential is at the forefront of Leyland's election campaign.

He and mayoral candidate Lea Taylor are backing up their 2012 bid, again pushing Mount Morgan tourism as one of their potential projects.

"I'm looking at establishing Mount Morgan as a major tourist attraction," Mr Barnett said.

"It definitely has potential and a lot of history and it could generate a lot of wealth and income for the region."

He said the town was due for a fresh marketing approach and updated infrastructure to put the region on the tourism map.

"With the swing bridge and the old train system, it could be revamped into a major tourist attraction," he said.

"It's the forgotten town and needs improved marketing to brighten the place up.

"The general infrastructure could be brightened up a lot and Lea Taylor has a policy backing this."

Mr Barnett said he would also push for closer communication between council and ratepayers to address the "debt situation".

He said he had lived in Rockhampton for most of his working life and had a strong understanding of issues the region faced.

"My motivation is a lot of people are hurting and I know where they are coming from," he said.

"When it gets to the point of struggling to stay alive, you need to sit down and look at the overall system.

"We need to focus on saving money and spending where it's going to count and where you're going to get the biggest bang for your buck.

"Sensible spending creates jobs and investment."

Dan McIntyre

Dan holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Education.

He is a Justice of the Peace and lives in Park Avenue.

And he is a strong supporter of the State Government net-free fishing zones and Division 5 candidate Dan McIntyre believes the law holds potential for the Rockhampton region.

The 32-year-old agriculture adviser took up the challenge of running for the Rockhampton Regional councillor position because he "wanted to see the region move forward".

He said he saw net-free fishing zones as an opportunity to draw national and international tourism prospects to the region.

"I'm very supportive of net-free fishing in the Fitzroy River," he said.

"I think it could welcome tourism and what comes from that is the need for it to be considered a sport.

"It can attract tourists in to fish in the Fitzroy because in other parts of the country recreational fishing zones, or fishing havens, have really taken off.

"Rockhampton is well and truly placed to really take advantage of (net-free fishing).

"Rockhampton region has a bright future for tourism, but we need to take advantage of it."

He said if elected, he would push for Rockhampton to be considered the "capital" of Central Queensland but acknowledged the city was up against some tough competition from Gladstone and Mackay.

"The region needs a renewed focus on becoming the capital of Central Queensland again; we have been a little bit overshadowed by Mackay and Gladstone but it's time for Rockhampton to be seen again," he said.

"I will not support the sale of any council assets and I support the protecting of existing employment conditions for council staff."

Christine Ward

Christine Ward in running in Division 5 for Rockhampton Regional Council
Christine Ward in running in Division 5 for Rockhampton Regional Council

CHRISTINE Ward decided to put her hand up to make a difference because she would rather have a go then criticise others from the sidelines.

The candidate for Division 5 who has lived in the Rockhampton region for over 30 years believes owning a small business and growing up in the country gives her a better insight into the community.

Ms Ward who owns Antonio's take-away said change would be a good thing for the region.

"You can't vote for the same people every election and expect different results. New people bring new ideas, new enthusiasm, less complacency and a brand new perspective."

The candidate who has previously served on the Fitzroy Shire Council said she would stand as a completely independent candidate.

"As a candidate with no affiliations with any political party who lives and works in Division 5, I have plenty of ideas to be implemented which is the most difficult part."

Ms Ward said better results would come with good representation which is about what the community wants for its future and plan accordingly.

"We need to acknowledge that there are a number of communities in and around Rockhampton and that they are all different...what's important to some will not be to others, each community has its own energy and identity."

Ms Ward said a good representative would be proactive in knowing what the community need now and want in the future.

"Building strong communities as the foundation will make Rockhampton region stronger. I would like council to recognise what's important to the electorate and back it up with good planning to set the path on how we get what we need and want for each area."

Ms Ward believes she can represent her division confidently and positively for better results.

Gavin Finch

LNP candidate Gavin Finch at the site of the Gracemere Industrial precinct overpass adjacent to the Capricorn Highway.
Gavin Finch Chris Ison

Gavin is the former mayor of the Mount Morgan Shire Council up until the amalgamation in 2008.

"My reason for running for this division is that I believe that we have lost connection with council," he said.

"With the knowledge I gained I believe I am a creditable candidate for division 5.

"Council's greatest asset is their workforce. "


Division 6

Eric Lewis

Eric Lewis is opposed to the opening of the Drop in Cafe on Bolsover Street.Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Eric Lewis Chris Ison

Eric Lewis is a long-term resident.

"Our sewerage treatment plants are in urgent need of upgrading and we have to build new infrastructure to handle the drainage issues," he said.

"We need to stop taking money out of the road budget and putting it into general revenue as our roads are in a shocking state.

"We need to reduce waste urgently on consultants, court cases and find new efficiencies to improve ratepayers' return on their rate dollars. 

"For too long developers have been getting their fees waived in Rockhampton which only benefits a small group of people but every ratepayer and small business is paying for this unfair use of the rating dollar. 

"We need to control our soaring debt and get the Rockhampton region and its people moving forward again."

Bruce Simpson

Bruce Simpson is running for Division 6 in the Rockhampton Regional Council election 2016
Bruce Simpson is running for Division 6 in the Rockhampton Regional Council election 2016

Bruce is running as an independent candidate and has previous experience in local government, having served four terms as an alderman in Division 2.

"During this time I worked closely with all council departments and residents in my division," he said.

"I represented the council on many occasions, both sporting and business.

Bruce has been a member of boards in the community.

"I do not belong to any groups, sporting or otherwise, I have found that being on many of these outside committees and groups does take up a lot of your time, my time will be
fully spent working for those people who elect me - Division 6."

"I have a long list of successful business experiences, first starting with the Hub Travel and Casket Agency in the Northside Plaza, a travel shop in Stockland, Japanese restaurant,  a coffee shop and international education business that generated a lot of money within Rockhampton and spread a lot of money around our region.

"During the run up to the election, I will be door knocking daily, as I want to speak with as many electors as possible I also want to hear the comments from electors as to what they see as a need for their division."

Here are some of his policies to date.

1. Consult with city businesses to stimulate more businesses for more jobs.
2. Strenuously fight to keep the airport in ratepayers hands.
3. Repair the many potholes in Division 6 and increase the road maintenance .
4. Fix the dust problem in the Depot Hill area.
5. Address the dangerous road situation between South Ulum Road and the highway.
6. Free range off the leash area at the Woolwash area.
7. Public toilets in Bajool and Marmor.

Drew Wickerson


Team McMillan: Drew Wickerson. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Team McMillan: Drew Wickerson. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka


Drew has owned business and has worked at Rockhampton council for 15 years in engineering, parks, sports and recreation departments as a project manager, then operations manager of the Rockhampton Heritage Village.

"I believe I have the experience, knowledge, passion and commitment to strongly represent all of the people living in Division 6.

"I know how council operates, having worked for Rockhampton city council for 15 years.  

"Owning and managing my design consultancy has developed extensive experience with building and landscape design, museum design and construction, computer modelling, graphic design and video production.

"I am very proud of my design work on the restoration and new development for Saint Joseph's Cathedral, an iconic architectural and historic monument for the entire region.

"To underscore my strong commitment to representing the people of Division 6, when I was selected as a member of team McMillan, I tendered my resignation from a lucrative career as business development manager/designer/ Estimator for a successful mining maintenance company.

"I have made the commitment to run for council to be an active part of the solution that will stimulate a diversified economy, put in place a clear and decisive strategic development plan and drive our region to prosperity, to once again be the beating heart and engine room of Central Queensland. 

"This is my opportunity to give something back to the city and region that has given so much to me and that I am passionate about.

"In a relatively short period, this group of individuals (Team McMillan) from a diversity of social, professional and political backgrounds has galvanised into a highly functional and operational team.

"We engage in robust debate to develop community driven policy and exciting initiatives for the region. Team McMillan is not a political party in any way, however we are all totally focused on providing the vision and strong leadership that this region deserves."

To contact Drew ahead of the election day, you can email him or you can follow the Team McMillan Facebook page for updates or message. You can also follow Team McMillan on Twitter (@TeamMcMillan16) and Google+.

Alan Cornick

Alan Cornick brings to the Rockhampton Regional Council 41 years of business experience and negotiation skills gained from his long standing career in real estate in Rockhampton and surrounding districts.

Alan commenced a career in Real Estate in 1975 at the tender age of 19. After working for one agent for seven years, he obtained his full agents licence and opened his own business, Alan Cornick Real Estate.

Alan is also an experienced auctioneer. Now after 41 years in the business he seeks a new challenge. He has structured his business by employing licenced managers so he is able to devote full time to the positon of councillor.

"The Rockhampton Regional Council is the biggest business in town overseeing a budget of over 200 million per annum".

"I liken the council to a top line company wherein the mayor is the CEO, the councillors form the board of directors and the rate payers are the shareholders".

"Only in this instance, the shareholders (rate payers) have the right to fire or rehire the CEO and reshape the board of directors every 4 years if they don't perform".

"The position of councillor brings with it a huge responsibility as every single decision effects not only the rate payer but everyone in the community".

"My goal is to keep rate rises to an absolute minimum".

"I'm just not happy to accept the argument that we compare favourably with other regional towns and cities".

"I would wish to identify areas of waste, mismanagement and inefficient work practices which I believe do exist and are costing the rate payer dearly".

"When elected I would urge any constituent who witnesses or has knowledge of waste, mismanagement or inefficient work practices on any level to advise me immediately".

"Of course we all have visions for great development and advancement of the city. I would certainly want to play a vital role in achieving that where possible without jeopardising our financial standing by over borrowing. Our first obligation however is to deliver the essential services such as water, sewerage, drainage, good roads etc".

Marcus Holmes


Division 6 candidate Marcus Holmes
Division 6 candidate Marcus Holmes


Marcus views local government as the most modest level of government; it affords the opportunity to assist people with everyday problems.

"Local government  allows  personalized service to electors, it's where an elector can really get close to government via their divisional member, and that's what I'll commit to," he said.

"My motivation for nominating to council is to help people, I enjoy listening to peoples points of view, I consider myself to be competent at explaining processes and the rationale behind decisions. At the same time I always question the reasons behind why we have rules, if something can be made simpler then let's do it.

"Rockhampton Region needs to expand its agricultural base in order to diversify the local economy, a heavy reliance on mining has proven to be hard work for Gladstone, Mackay and Townsville.

"Keeping the local economy as stable as possible leads to a stable happy community.

"With this in mind the council needs to promote the Eden Bann and Rockwood Weirs, this is a long term goal that must  be progressed.

"The "roads, rates and rubbish" functions of council are all important, there is only so much money to address these basic services and I'd try to find ways to reasonably get more for less.

"As a general rule the purchasing of services and equipment for council being awarded to local people is desirable, provided it makes sense in economic terms and value for money.

"I'm not the sort of person to bluster away about "big changes around here mate", that's not the way to change things. Change should be instigated by consultation, patience and consideration, not by short term media grabs."

LOCAL ELECTIONS: Division 6 candidate Wade Ferricks with his wife Grace and one-year-old daughter Audrey.
LOCAL ELECTIONS: Division 6 candidate Wade Ferricks with his wife Grace and one-year-old daughter Audrey. Contributed

Wade Ferricks

The residents of Division 6 already know that about councillor candidate Wade Ferricks as the linesman makes his way through knocking on every door in the division in the lead-up to next month's Rockhampton council elections.

Mr Ferricks is already hot on the case, having visited 500 homes in Division 6 with small, local issues at the forefront of his mind as he pounds the pavement.

But he said those yet to see his face at their door were next on his visting list.

"So far issues aren't major, they range from the street sweeper not sweeping the street properly to somebody needing a branch taken off a tree," he said.

"One elderly lady asked me for a bag of sand because every time it rained water came through the drain. I ended up finding her the bag of sand because it's the small things that people care about that aren't being actioned.

"Being born and bred in Rockhampton I am very passionate about local issues.

"I am now raising my one-year-old daughter in Rockhampton, because I believe it is a great place to live and grow up."

Mr Ferricks, the fifth generation of his family to live in Rockhampton, says the region is home to a growing and changing community.

He said the key to harnessing the growth was to utilise local resources to make sustainable development for the region.

"We need to encourage people to come and live in Rockhampton to further grow our beautiful city," he said.

"I will always fight for local services, support and retain local council jobs, and stand against asset sales.

"I will be a strong, fresh voice for our region."


Division 7

Cr Stephen Schwarten - CURRENT councillor and team McMillan member Stephen Schwarten has declined to have a profile published. The Morning Bulletin has made every attempt to ensure each candidate has had an equal opportunity to share their stories.

Dan Smith


Dan Smith, Division 7 candidate, Rockhampton Regional Council 2016 elections
Dan Smith, Division 7 candidate, Rockhampton Regional Council 2016 elections


Dan is currently a project manager with CentacareCQ but also has experience as a self-employed small business person.

He also has a young family.

Dan hopes to bring to Rockhampton council what he has learnt in small business about how to make a dollar go further from a personal and business perspective. 

"It is my belief that if you are seeking to make a living through your community, you need to give back and be an active part of that community," he said.

"My community involvement over time includes coaching and committee roles with my children's sporting clubs and schools, board roles with the Rockhampton Leagues Club, Parents & Citizens Qld, the Rockhampton Chamber of Commerce, and service as a Justice of the Peace (Qld).

"Division 7 has been represented by the same person for the past two decades, it is time for new ideas and energy on the council.

"With strong commercial experience in financial and human resource management, complemented by appropriate levels of study, I have professional skills easily transferable to local government.

"Through employment and voluntary board service, I can demonstrate appropriate levels of experience to add value with regard corporate governance, stakeholder engagement and having a social conscience in the decision making process.

"Long-term financial and asset management planning is essential to ensure local governments can continue to provide the desired levels of services to residents now and into the future, within their respective financial capacities. To borrow a term I used regularly with my financial planning clients, "to make the most of tomorrow, you need to make the most of what you have today".

"I'm looking forward to continuing my sincere interest in the people of the community where I live. I look forward to spending time listening, being helpful and becoming a strong and proven advocate for Division 7 as your elected councillor soon after votes are finalised in March 2016."

Bill Warwick-Day

LOCAL ELECTIONS: Division 7 candidate Bill Warwick-Day (second from right) with three time world 500cc solo champion Jason Crump (left) and Australian champions and the MEM Handle Bar Heroes Bike Spectacular competition.
LOCAL ELECTIONS: Division 7 candidate Bill Warwick-Day (second from right) with three time world 500cc solo champion Jason Crump (left) and Australian champions and the MEM Handle Bar Heroes Bike Spectacular competition. Contributed

Bill has three passions; local business, his community and motocross. And they all contributed to his decision to run for the Division 7 seat at the upcoming Rockhampton Regional Council elections.

Warwick-Day, a refrigeration mechanic owner-manager, said his history in the local business industry set him up with the experience and skills to be able to support other business owners at a council level if elected on March 19.

Mr Warwick-Day said he believed the region was in for "tough times" in the next four years, a journey he said he was prepared to take with his division.

He said the key to surviving those tough times was to tighten council's budget belt.

"Mainly, I'm trying to help small business in the area, that's my basis and background but I think what people have to realise is we are in for tough times in the next four years and being on council is going to the toughest (term) in the last 20 years because the mining industry is dull," he said.

"Basically being in small business, I know what happens when times are tough, you've got to tighten up and you can't go spending money.

"In tough times you've got to work with what you've got and keep a tight rein on things and hang in there for next four years because no matter what we do, we can't make things happen. We've just got to wait for things to happen and work with the people to make it happen when we get the opportunities."

Bill is married with three sons aged 30, 28 and 23.

He has lived in Parkhurst his whole life and is heavily involved in golf, football and the motocross.

He is motivated by the exposure of the Rockhampton Speedway on an international level.


Donna Kirkland

Donna Kirkland is running in Division 7 for Rockhampton Regional Council
Donna Kirkland is running in Division 7 for Rockhampton Regional Council

Donna is married with six children and eight grandchildren. Her home, her children's school and church are all in Division 7. Division 7 is her priority choice because she lives there and she knows and loves the people and eagerly desires to hear and support their needs.

Donna has established herself as a capable, discerning and trustworthy businesswoman. Owner, operator of multiple successful businesses, spanning more than 30 years, she is currently working in real estate with Century 21 Solutions, positioning her to be daily hearing the concerns of the public in order to understand the needs of the Rockhampton people.

Local families may also know Donna, from her voluntary service at the Rockhampton Heritage Village and for the hugely successful, CQFFD (Central Qld Family Fund Raising Day) of which she was the coordinator and more recently, for her appointment as 'The Face of Relay' CCQ representative.

Donna has had many engagements, speaking into the lives of the next generation of Kawana high schoolers and on numerous other occasions with business men and women locally, nationally and internationally.

Donna said, "My key campaign points are:
1. Safer roads for our children
2. Healthy parklands for family gatherings and celebrations
3. Ample parking for Businesses and their customers; especially an issue right now on Glenmore Road."

Donna also stated "It is high time for more support with follow through action in Park Avenue, Kawana and Parkhurst. I can and will confidently provide that, inclusive of full representation on all levels within the city and region of Rockhampton Regional Council."

Donna has proven that she is an energetic and motivated team player who is not afraid of diligent work as she strives toward leaving an inheritance for the next generations of Rockhampton.

Donna is adamant that, " In order for the voices of the people to be heard, their representative needs to be present."