Did anything good come out of 2020?
One thing which I believe has been a resounding positive to emerge from 2020 is that the pandemic has made us a more considerate community and we have been forced to focus on local first – whether it be local suppliers, local producers or local recreational and holiday experiences. I am optimistic this might herald a greater and continuing focus on buying local, supporting local and greater community self-resilience. In fact, this is what councils across Queensland have been focused on for many years – the circumstances of 2020 have just brought it into sharper relief.
On a personal level, 2020 will always be a great year for me as in August, I became a grandfather for the first time. The birth of my granddaughter will always be the most memorable moment of 2020 for me.
What’s your favourite Christmas memory?
My earliest memories of Christmas are of listening to Burl Ives, Frank Ifield and Bing Crosby singing Christmas carols – this is a memory that has remained with me ever since.
Are you a summer or a winter person?
I am the Mayor of the Sunshine Coast – the most beautiful place in Australia – so definitely a summer person. That said, the winters are spectacular on our Sunshine Coast.
How do you stay resilient during periods of change, like the year just gone?
By remaining optimistic and always thinking about possibilities. Every challenge should be looked at from the perspective of the opportunity it affords – even as a learning opportunity. I am also fortunate to have a fantastic wife who always inspires me to optimism and getting things done.
Who were your heroes of 2020?
Undoubtedly Dr Jeannette Young, our Chief Health Officer, who withstood enormous pressure and at times, blatant politically motivated criticism for simply doing her job. Yet she stood firm, guided our State’s response to the pandemic and kept our communities safe through sheer determination, dedication and professional integrity. The results speak for themselves and Queensland is fortunate to have the best Chief Health Officer in the nation.
I would also like to acknowledge all members of the Queensland Police Service and Queensland’s health workers for going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our communities remained safe and that public health directives were followed.
Queenslanders who followed the public health directives, made sacrifices, looked out for others and kept going are also the unsung heroes of 2020.
Your secret ambition?
To see one of my horses win the Melbourne Cup.
Favourite end-of-year holiday spot?
Response: My farm outside Toowoomba. This is a great time and location to wind down, get some work done, and think about the plans and opportunities for the year ahead.
What are you hoping for next year?
I guess like most people, I am looking forward to discovering what our “new normal” will be. Hopefully, we will see a successful COVID-19 vaccine rolled out nation-wide and be on a path to progressively see our international borders start to open by the end of 2021. That will be a great boost for our new international standard runway which we completed and opened this year at our Sunshine Coast Airport.
Hot Christmas dinner, or cold?
Response: A hot Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, shared with all of my family – even if it is 35 degrees Celsius outside!
People/businesses to watch in 2021?
Any entrepreneur who capitalises on the new ideas to connect people and businesses in meaningful ways. We have all felt the loss of connectivity with others during the pandemic and most of us have had to master platforms like Zoom and Teams just to talk to our colleagues. Anyone who can come up with a better virtual connectivity experience will undoubtedly be in high demand. Of course, for me, the person to watch in 2021 is my granddaughter, as she takes her first steps!Jump to next article