Mark has been the Mayor of the Sunshine Coast Council (the fifth largest local government in Queensland) since April 2012, having been re-elected for a second term on 19 March 2016 with 76% of the vote on a two candidate preferred basis.
Mark is leading a transformational agenda to position the Sunshine Coast as one of Australia’s leading city regions – one that is healthy, smart and creative.
Mark’s goal is that the Sunshine Coast maintains its distinct and enviable identity, but is intimately connected to the world – offering opportunities for its residents today and well into the future.
Foremost of all in shaping Mark’s approach is a strong, ingrained affinity with the Sunshine Coast’s outstanding environment and natural assets and his connection with the region’s greatest resource, the community.
Mark’s entire approach as Mayor is about balance and that is what shapes everything he does.
In his time as Mayor, Mark has driven a major regional infrastructure program that is arguably the most innovative mix of public and private investment opportunities in Australia – one that will deliver jobs, opportunities and connectivity for the residents of the Sunshine Coast for decades to come.
Today, the Sunshine Coast Council is one of only three councils out of the 77 councils in Queensland to receive a strong financial sustainability rating from the Queensland Treasury Corporation.
The strength of Mark’s leadership as Mayor is evidenced by:
- He has delivered eight consecutive budget surpluses, consistent unmodified audit reports and Council continues to achieve a strong QTC financial sustainability rating – one of only three councils in Queensland to achieve this rating.
- The Sunshine Coast has been independently rated as having the second strongest performing economy in Queensland and is continuing to experience some of the highest levels of business confidence.
- The Sunshine Coast generated more than 23,000 jobs in high-value industries and unemployment has declined to as low as 5% during his time as Mayor.
- Council has acquired and now manages what is arguably the most extensive local conservation estate in south east Queensland.
- Under Mark’s leadership, Sunshine Coast Council has achieved national recognition for a number of its environmental programs, including being the first government in mainland Australia to offset more than 100% of its electricity consumption with energy from Council’s solar farm and the Australian-first blue carbon partnership that will help to provide more sustainable land-use option for the Blue Heart, which is 5000 hectares within the Maroochy River floodplain.
On 20 October 2016 Mark was elected by his Mayoral and Councillor colleagues from across the state as President of the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) for a four-year term.
In his role as a member of the Council of Mayors South East Queensland, Mark has been at the forefront of advocating for a City Deal for south east Queensland and has championed the bid for an Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2032.
Mark’s commitment to these two initiatives is driven by a single and simple objective – to secure the necessary and long overdue transport and digital infrastructure investment needed for the Sunshine Coast. As a member of the Olympic Candidature Leadership Group with the Prime Minister and the Premier, Mark is well placed to ensure this important infrastructure legacy is delivered for the Sunshine Coast from participating in hosting the Games.
Prior to his election as Mayor in 2012, Mark enjoyed an extensive career of 29 years in chief executive and senior leadership roles in media and publishing, with strategic and operational responsibilities for customer satisfaction, staff development, business performance and shareholder growth.
Mark is also active across a range of representative and not-for-profit organisations reflecting his personal ethos to not only do well but do good.
Mark has brought his leadership and passion for the community to many such roles including as:
- Director of Pacific Area Newspapers Publishers Association
- Director of the Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service
- Member of Rotary Clubs of Hervey Bay, Toowoomba East and Rockhampton Sunrise
- Patron of Sunnykids, the Beacon Foundation, The Friendship Force of the Sunshine Coast and the Sunshine Coast Sports Federation
- Vice Patron of the Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club and Surf Life Saving Queensland
Mark is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In 2008, Mark completed an Executive Leadership Program at Harvard University in the United States.
In 2017, Mark was awarded the University of Southern Queensland’s Community Service Alumni of the Year.