Last night, the candidates that comprise Cairns 1st were presented to a supporter's gathering in Edgehill.
L-R Richie Bates, Dianne Forsyth, Val Schier, Robert Pyne, Paul Matthews, Kirsten Lesina, Mark Buttrose
Val Schier introduced her candidates that have been selected to date.
Val also introduced Richie Bates, who will represent the northern beaches division.
Richie was born in Melbourne in 1965, and first came to work in Cairns 20 years ago. He has been a resident of Yorkeys Knob for 17 years. Richie manages telecommunications technology at Queensland Rail, where he has worked since 1988. He has a son 13, and daughter aged 7.
Over the next few months, and as the new Council divisional boundaries are announced, Val will announce additional candidates to represent her Alliance to contest the local body elections in March 2008.
From a small village on the North East coast of Tasmania, Val came to Cairns in 1982 after having worked in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. She bought a house at Machans Beach in 1984 and has lived and worked in Far North Queensland for 25 years. Her son, James, is a teacher in WA and partner, Peter, is an academic and researcher at James Cook University.
Val has had diverse and challenging work experiences - motel manager, teacher, breakfast cook and mining treatment plant operator – before joining the state public service where she held senior managerial positions.
Kirsten was born in Cairns in 1986, making her the fourth generation of the Lesina family to live in the city.She attended St Gerard Majella Primary School and St Mary's Catholic College in Woree. Kirsten is currently in her final year of a law degree at James Cook University Cairns Campus.
Born in Gordonvale and raised in Edmonton, Rob is certainly a local. He's worked in various professions until a dramatic accident in 1991 that broke his neck. He then embarked on study to re-enter the work force and completed a Bachelor of Arts in History and Politics at JCU and a Law Degree at QUT. Robert has volunteered for a number of community groups before gaining employment at JCU in 2002.
Born in South Australia, Mark moved to Cairns in 1995 with wife, Maryke and two children. He lives in Whitfield and is the manager of a major architectural practice with over 30 years experience in the industry. Since moving to Cairns Mark has been responsible for the design of many landmark buildings in Cairns including the Cairns Centre of Contemporary Arts, St Andrew's Catholic College, Fogarty Park Sound Shell, the sail-like Esplanade Information nodes.
Dianne contested the 2004 Council elections and gained 34% against Kathy Plath's 39% of the vote in Division 5. Dianne runs the Adiction Health Agency, offering Positive-Life-Changes, and was a first for Cairns, when initiated 30 years ago in 1973. Citizens concerned for the welfare of local disadvantaged youth set it up and was originally registered as a Charitable Trust, the Cairns Drug Advisory and Referral Centre, was managed and funded by the FNQ Youth Assistance Fund.
Paul first came to Cairns in a battered EH Holden in 1973 with some Uni mates , but it wasn't until 1987, after graduating from Veterinary School in Brisbane, followed by several Australian and overseas work stints, that he would eventually fulfil his dream to return, with his then partner, Kay. With the birth of Marnie and Sam and the acquisition of the Balaclava Veterinary Surgery, Cairns became home. In 2004, he ran with Val and herTeam 4 Cairns in Division 9, polling 44% of the vote. Since then he has been working on all areas of policy as well as his ongoing passions for humane urban animal management and the environment.