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New mayor says revamped council offers a 'great chance to start fresh'

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New Sunshine Coast mayor Rosanna Natoli says she is committed to making decisions that reflect the ‘hopes, dreams, and needs’ of locals.

Less than a week after being voted in with minority support, Ms Natoli and a relatively new-look council will make their Declarations of Office on Wednesday.

Ms Natoli reflected on her election campaign and outlined her next steps and aspirations.

“Campaigning is a physical and emotional marathon,” she told Sunshine Coast News.

“I specifically chose to visit all parts of the Sunshine Coast from north to south and east to west.

“I attended four events a day and more than 70 in total. That is a lot of ground to cover and a lot of wonderful people I had the privilege of meeting.”

Ms Natoli was last Thursday night declared the winner of the mayoral race, with 27.46 per cent of the vote. She was just ahead of Ashley Robinson (24.41 per cent) and Jason O’Pray (21.42 per cent), after 83.14 per cent of the votes were counted.

“The two-week wait while the votes were counted was a weird kind of limbo,” she said.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

“But now that the result has been confirmed, I am excited to get started.

“There is a lot for me to embrace, and there are a number of new councillors, too, but I am absolutely committed to getting on with the job we have been elected to do: representing the people and making decisions that reflect their hopes, dreams, and needs for the future.”

She detailed her next steps as mayor.

“Firstly, I will be working with the councillors to fine-tune a list of priorities for each division, looking also at my 10-Point Plan,” she said.

“Then, we will set about implementing a strategy to deliver results.

“Of course, the Town Plan will be a huge project this year too.”

Rosanna Natoli.

Ms Natoli’s 10-Point Plan was focused on: cost of living; housing; infrastructure before development; better public transport; transparent, accountable decisions made with integrity; back to basics with rates, roads and rubbish; better planning for the region’s unique lifestyle and environment; promoting continued economic growth and maximising Olympic and Paralympic benefits; controlling the costs of council; and restoring community focus.”

Ms Natoli takes the reins of a region that is experiencing rapid population growth, with an estimated 366,000 people, which is set to balloon to more than 500,000 by 2041.

“It is a very exciting time to be on the Sunshine Coast,” she said.

“Our growth presents challenges, but also tremendous opportunities.

“We need to ensure the region moves forward while preserving the lifestyle we all love.”

Ms Natoli said a new-look council could provide a fresh outlook.

“There will be at least three new councillors and a new mayor: this gives us a great chance to start fresh,” she said.

“The community has clearly asked for change and a new approach, and that is what we will deliver.

The City Hall, home to Sunshine Coast Council.

“I will adopt a consultative approach with councillors so we can deliver the best outcomes for our community, together.”

This includes closer ties to the community.

“I am totally committed to transparent, open and accountable governance,” she said.

“On top of the current regulations and requirements, I have a number of ideas which I will put to councillors as soon as possible, once we are sworn in.”

Ms Natoli said council would work with other local governments, including Noosa and Moreton Bay, to ensure the greater region would benefit.

“I am determined to forge even stronger relationships with all levels of government to deliver the infrastructure we need,” she said.

“We must work with our neighbouring councils because united, we are stronger.”

Ms Natoli takes over from the retiring Mark Jamieson.

Jenny Broderick takes over from retiring Rick Baberowski in Division 1, Terry Landsberg returns in Division 2, Tim Burns takes over from retiring Peter Cox in Division 3, Joe Natoli returns in Division 4, Winston Johnston returns in Division 5, Christian Dickson returns unopposed in Division 6, Ted Hungerford returns in Division 7, Taylor Bunnag takes over from mayoral candidate Jason O’Pray in Division 8, and Maria Suarez returns in Division 9.

David Law returns in Division 10, after a closely-contested race that was only decided on Tuesday. He staved off policeman Peter Walsh by just 25 votes after preferences, after trailing in primary voting. It took almost three weeks, after voting, for it to be declared.

The community can view the mayor and councillors assuming office via Council Meetings.

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