2024 Council Election Countdown – Division 5 candidates

GC&M News will be running a series of ‘Meet the Candidate’ editorial features over a three week period leading up to the March 16 Sunshine Coast Council election.

Our aim is to provide a ‘level playing field’ platform to give all of our declared mayoral and divisional candidates running in the Sunshine Coast Council election the opportunity to present their pitch and provide responses to key issues raised by our Hinterland readers.

The series will be featured in both our print and online publications.
Each candidate has been approached and asked to provide a response of no more than 250 words.

Question to the candidates

Question 5

Tell us what makes you the best candidate for Mayor/Division 1/ Division 5?

Richard Bruisnma

To put it simply, I am experienced, approachable (genuinely approachable), dedicated and sensible. I have a solid mix of ideal professional and personal experience, combined with long professional, residential and social connections with Division 5 that make me ideally suited to represent the region in council – I have helped plant trees locally, have supported local businesses, hiked in our beautiful bushland, helped clean up local creeks, I’ve run in the local parkrun, swum in our waterways, and attended the various local markets. For years, as the editor of the Sunshine Valley Gazette, I travelled around the area pretty much daily, speaking to residents, learning about the region, and learning and writing about local people, issues and communities. I’ve calculated that I’ve had literally thousands of conversations about various topics with local people, as well as business owners and politicians. Palmwoods and Division 5 is my home. That experience as a local journalist, and working as a media adviser and speech writer in two controversial offices – that of former deputy speaker Peter Slipper and PHON leader Pauline Hanson – has developed my understanding of community need and my ability to work with everyone, from senior government offices to everyday people in our communities, along with community groups and businesses, to try to achieve positive outcomes for everyone. My life and career experience has given me the ability to empathise with everyday people, to understand community and individual need.

Winston Johnston

Division 5 is an extremely large and diverse Council division. It is comprised of 7 towns and 26 districts. Local knowledge and the historic importance of these towns and districts is essential to clearly understand the needs of the division. Born, raised, educated, living and running a business within the division for my entire life, clearly qualifies me as the best candidate to serve the residents for the next term of council.
Having served in various capacities for some 50 years, I have the in-depth knowledge and demonstrated ability to once again deliver for residents. Since my early twenties, I have held numerous leadership roles within the community and I’ve served as a councillor for four terms. Three terms on Landsborough/Caloundra Council and this term with SCRC. Six years as chairman of Town Planning and Development and currently as Portfolio Councillor for Service Excellence.
In addition, I was a member of the Landsborough/Caloundra, Maroochy Water Supply Board for eight years, during the construction of Baroon Pocket Dam. Five years on the Sunshine Coast Tourism and Development Board, three years on the Sunshine Coast Hospital Board and as a member of the Sunshine Coast University Planning Committee.
Since my prior council service, I have served as an advisor to council for the Maleny Local Area Plan and the Maleny Community Precinct.
My financial and business background continues to be invaluable and has assisted me in delivering numerous council projects.

Tracy Burton

As a retired high school teacher, I have spent most of my life dedicated to serving others. From being a nurse to now working in community services, I have always strived to make a positive impact on those around me. And now, as I embark on the next stage of my career, I am excited and motivated to continue this dedication by serving the people of Division 5 and working towards the betterment of our community as your Councillor.
Having lived in the hinterland for 15 years, I have developed a deep connection to this area and its people.
Raising my two children here has only strengthened that bond.
I am passionate about the future of our local council and the role it plays in shaping our community.
I believe that by working together, we can create a stronger and more vibrant community for everyone.
My experiences as a high school teacher have honed my organisational skills and ability to think strategically.
These are qualities that I believe will be valuable in my role as a member of the local council. As someone who has always been proactive and goal-oriented, I am confident that I can deliver positive outcomes for our community.
One of my main priorities will be to improve the services and resources available to our community members.
This includes advocating for more housing, implementing programs for youth empowerment, and supporting local businesses. I am committed to finding solutions that address the needs and concerns of our diverse population.