Southern Downs residents will go to the polls on March 28.
Southern Downs residents will go to the polls on March 28.

HERE THEY ARE: What you don't know about the 30 candidates

THE Southern Downs has 30 candidates vying for election on March 28.

At Tuesday midday, nominations were cut off. 

Several last minute names stepped to the fore and now we can introduce you to most of your hopefuls.

All candidates have been listed in alphabetical order.

We did not receive introductions from Robert Ettery, Julia Keogh and Sue Laws.

Mayoral candidates

Tracy Dobie

I LOVE where I live.

This is where I was born and grew up.

My mother's family is from Stanthorpe, my father's from Killarney, and I settled here with my husband because, for me, the Southern Downs is home.

I was elected mayor in 2016.

Prior to this, I enjoyed leadership roles in both the public and private sectors, spending most of my life living on rural properties.

Fitness is important to me.

I run every morning with my two border collies, enjoying this early start to each day.

I approach everything I do with honesty and energy.

With my professional experience I have begun building our local economy; fostering new and existing business; striving to deliver affordable long-term water solutions; and enhancing the liveability of our towns and districts to encourage new residents and more tourists to enjoy where we live.


Tracy Dobie.
Tracy Dobie.


Joe Doepel

I HAVE lived locally for the last 14 years with my family's history in Australia spanning 170 years.

I'm running for mayor of Southern Downs Regional Council for various reasons.

Too many to list here.

The local council needs to get back into the hands of ratepayers, as that is what local council is and help local business to employ more people.

There is a lot of unemployment coming up and I have not heard, nor seen the council address this matter.

I was told at the Allora Show, to be mayor, you have to be able to do the hours.

My 42 years working in and managing a variety of companies from construction, high rise, roads, dams, power stations, farming, engineering, design and construction, trade qualifications, MOYB accountancy … I'm used to doing 96 hours a week.

They reckon that would be "okay".


Joe Doepel.
Joe Doepel.

Peter Kemp

I AM Peter Kemp and I'm nominating for mayor for the Southern Downs.

I was born in Warwick and have family ties to the area of about 140 years.

I have a close connection with the Granite Belt through childhood friends in the area.

I have had a career in Project and Construction Management in Queensland, the Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea of over 30 years.

I have post graduate qualifications in Project Management from QUT.

I am currently president of the Warwick RSL and I wish to see our region prosper, and believe a different direction needs to be taken and assembled my policies around this.

These policies were developed by listening to the grassroots issues and include fast tracking Emu Swamp Dam, some innovative employment, environmental, pest control, tourism and social stewardship initiatives.

I look forward to meeting as many people as possible and want to restore our council services to represent and support all residents.

Peter Kemp.
Peter Kemp. Contributed

Vic Pennisi

I'VE lived here my entire 61 years.

Born in Stanthorpe, raised on an apple orchard by farming parents, and went on to complete an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic.

I spent 23 years in the car industry and in horticulture engineering until my wife and I purchased an independent hardware store and became self-employed business owners.

In 1998 I was elected as Chamber of Commerce President which lead me into Local Government in 2004.

I've now spent 16 years in local government in the Stanthorpe and merged Southern Downs councils.

I have been on many boards including State Director Football Queensland and the Chair of Regional Development Australia Darling Downs and Southwest.

My wife Sharon and I have been married for 40 years, we have four children and two grandchildren.

As Mayor of the Southern Downs I will listen to you, understand your concerns and act on them, because you matter.


Vic Pennisi.
Vic Pennisi.


Councillor candidates

Ross Bartley   

Age: 62

Occupation: Primary producer.

Previous experience: Telecommunications technical officer, local government councillor, business operator, Cert IV workplace trainer and assessor. 

Community involvement: Life Member of two sporting clubs. Still actively involved in my preferred sport.

Reason for standing:  Given my extensive experience in local govt. I believe I will be able to provide representation for the rural and the broader communities. If elected, I will endeavour to insure  a more transparent decision making process is adopted, and democracy is returned to the council chambers.

Ross Bartley.
Ross Bartley. Contributed

Paola Cabezas-Bono

THIS year, I am celebrating my 33rd vintage as a winemaker.

I have worked in four countries, over 12 wine regions and made more the 37 million bottles of wine.

I have been a wine judge in over 16 wine shows.

The wines I made have won more than 150 awards, including a Queensland Winemaker Bursary in 2017.

I was a business manager for 7 years. In 2014 I started my own company as a consulting winemaker, wine education, marketing, graphic design and opened a restaurant.

I have been trained in viticulture, winemaking, bookkeeping, food supervising, as a speaker, comedian and a wine judge.

I suffer from endometriosis.

Maintaining work and life balance was a challenge where work always won.

But I have my daughter … my miracle baby.

Finally, after 35 years of suffering my health is under control, and now I am capable of doing anything.


Paola Cabezas Bono.
Paola Cabezas Bono.


Marion Carrick

I FELL in love with, and moved to the region in 2009.

The community warmly welcomed me and my family with such open arms, we felt immediately at home. Although not born here, I believe the important thing is that I chose to live here, and continue to choose to live here.

As a business owner I know the importance of supporting each other, working together, and buying from within the region. I'm highly motivated to support, develop and grow the entire region.

This is why I've previously undertaken committee roles with Granite Belt Wine & Tourism and Destination Southern Downs.

Currently, I'm an executive with the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce.

It's also been a privilege to volunteer with Granite Belt Water Relief to assist their important work for the rural community.

It's all about the people. They are the region's greatest gift.  

Marion Carrick has concerns for tourism on the Granite Belt.
Marion Carrick has concerns for tourism on the Granite Belt. Liana Turner

Scott Christensen

HELLO fellow residents, my name is Scott Christensen.

With the exception of a few years working in Toowoomba, I have lived in the Southern Downs all of my life.

My mum was born in Stanthorpe, my dad grew up in Freestone. My family and I moved from Freestone to a dairy farm 10km east of Allora, when I was six. My wife, Bronwyn, and I have been married for 28 years. We have four great kids and three terrific grandkids.

We finished up dairying in 2014 due to water supply problems, drought, and feed availability on our dryland farm.   Two years ago, we bought a small retail business in Warwick, while still running our family farm.

As you can see, I'm not afraid of hard work and any challenges that come my way.  

Scott Christensen.
Scott Christensen. Contributed

Andrew Gale

MY lovely wife and I have called the Southern Downs home now for nearly 20 years. We've been married for 28 years and have great 7 children aged from 26 to 9 years. I was a police officer for 18 years and now own a driving school and boat licensing business.

You may know me via my weekly column in the Warwick Daily News or by my radio slot doing "Road Rules Talkback" on ABC Southern Queensland.

Other interests I have include cars and motorsport, road and marine safety as well volunteering in disability support.

I am passionate about my community and am proud to travel our area and see things I have achieved as a community member. Becoming a councillor would be the greatest honour my community could bestow on me and I would proudly use that opportunity make this region be an even better place to live.


Andrew Gale.
Andrew Gale.


Marco Gliori

I WAS born, raised and educated in Warwick. I served 10 years in the Queensland Police Force attaining the rank of Detective Senior Constable.

For the past three decades I have been self-employed as a writer and performer of poetry for adults and children, at festivals, industry functions and community shows, while also performing and workshopping widely in schools, touring Australia.

I have entertained at and managed many events. I am married and have three adult daughters, all raised here on the Southern Downs.

My decision to nominate as a candidate was an easy one: If elected I look forward to listening to and representing those characters and landscapes that have inspired me.

I respect those who have gone before us, while encouraging future leaders across our community to speak out and create the visions that will steer us forward.

Marco Gliori.
Marco Gliori. Contributed

Cameron Gow

I WAS first elected to Stanthorpe Shire Council in 2000 when I was 28-years-old.

In 2004 I ran for mayor and missed out. I was then re-elected in 2008 to the Southern Downs Council.

I am the portfolio holder for agriculture, environment and sustainability, including: deputy chair Local Disaster Management Group, chair Pest Management Advisory Group, chair Environmental Sustainability Strategy Working Group and delegate to Wild Dog Advisory Group.

Outside council I work with my brother on the family farm, Gows Produce.

Family is extremely important and I love spending time with my wife, Peta, and our four children.

Community groups include: president Football Stanthorpe, chair and officer Broadwater/Amiens Rural Fire Brigade, coach under-14 Inter Club Fillies soccer team, Stanthorpe Lions and a past president Stanthorpe Agricultural Show Society.

Past community experience includes: former chair, former vice chair, and former secretary: Stanthorpe Combined Rural Fire Group, Stanthorpe Sports Association and Stanthorpe Soccer Federation.


Cameron Gow.
Cameron Gow.


Greg Grant

MY wife, Lesley, and I have lived in Stanthorpe for the past 12 years after moving from western Queensland.   My family has a long association here - my grandfather was the master bricklayer constructing the Catholic convent in the 1930s.

I have recently retired as a school principal at The Summit State School. I performed school reviews of other schools across Queensland and was a principal mentor for many beginning principals.

As a director on the board of Queensland Cricket (1999-2007), I chaired a number of portfolios and completed the new director program endorsed by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Australian Sports Commission.   I was a member of the inaugural Regional Ministerial Community Forums (SEQ West).

I was awarded an Australian Sports Medal in 2000, was a volunteer at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and am a life member of a number of sporting bodies.  

Greg Grant.
Greg Grant. Contributed

 Jenn Greene-Galloway

RELOCATING from Sydney, where I held various secretarial/freight manager/public service positions, to Yangan in 1984, I found it the ideal environment to raise a family.    My husband, Brian, and I have been married for 34 years, raising three children.   

Being a sporty family, members of various sports clubs from softball, tennis, squash, cricket, Collegians and Redbacks AFL.

I entered the hospitality sector holding various positions around the Warwick region, including gaming manager when gaming was introduced.

I'm a passionate community member and voice, volunteering, listening, advocating, encouraging a united community is key to success in gaining major projects and positive change, remaining mindful of retaining the town's identity for 30 years.

Dedication, support, compassion and faith in our community is reciprocal. Being a grassroots voice without personal agenda for our village and surrounds is a satisfying passion.  

Jenn Greene-Galloway.
Jenn Greene-Galloway. Contributed

Amanda Harrold

I MOVED to Stanthorpe 20 years ago after my husband and I fell in love with the town as tourists.

We decided it was the perfect place to start our family and have not regretted that decision.

My decision to run for council is driven by the desire to continue my community service and working for the region.

I have been involved at the grassroots level of our region for over 20 years with professional experience as board member of many committees, giving me a deep understanding of corporate governance.

I have learnt a lot about the community and am ready to take the next step and represent the broader region.

My experience includes over eight years as secretary and vice-president on community groups, reference panels and associations including the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce.


Amanda Harrold
Amanda Harrold

Max Hunter

I COMPLETED secondary school and apprentice plumbing qualifications in Tasmania, prior to emigrating to Queensland in 1970 to advance my sporting aspirations and continue my trade involvement in commercial and further education.

After navigating Brisbane and surrounding areas, it was Stanthorpe that has been my home for 39 years.   Since successfully obtaining the position as plumbing and sewerage inspector with the Stanthorpe Shire Council in 1981, I forged a career of more than 35 years in local government, including eight years involvement as senior plumbing inspector, with Southern Downs Regional Council, after amalgamation on March 15, 2008.

In my time and involvement with local government, I have encountered many operational and administrative changes, but above all I have respected the challenges and personal interaction that comes from being involved in regional areas and the operation of everyday Australians.  

GRAPE EXPECTATIONS: Max Hunter takes over as president of the Apple and Grape Festival.
GRAPE EXPECTATIONS: Max Hunter takes over as president of the Apple and Grape Festival. Contributed

Michael Jensen

MY wife and I currently own and operate the Granite Belt Motel and Pink Poppies in Stanthorpe. Prior to this I had a successful career with Queensland Rugby League, Stanthorpe Sports Association, Suncorp Bank and the Commonwealth Bank.

I have been an active volunteer and committee member for many years with numerous local sporting clubs, tourism associations, business and community organisations.

I love this region and have become disheartened with the direction of council and see this as a great opportunity to make a positive difference.

I cannot make a significant difference to the performance of our local council 'sitting on the sidelines watching' any longer. I think the council can do a better job in listening to the community and encouraging meaningful engagement prior to making decisions. I believe I have the necessary local knowledge, business acumen and communication skills to be an effective councillor for the whole region.


Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen


Gregory Johnson

PLEASE let me introduce myself. My name is Gregory Glenn Johnson. I have completed the government requirements (So you Want to be a Councillor) successfully.

I have lived in Stanthorpe for more than eight years. I have worked in Warwick for nearly all of that time at Big W DC and John Dee. My wife and I plan to keep working here and retire here.

We have many friends and family in the entire Southern Downs region.

I have aunties, uncles and cousins who have lived in Warwick for many decades. I am very attached to this region as I believe my future lies here.

I am disappointed not enough has been done to ensure water security.

I also have questions for council if elected, such as "What are council's long-term plans to ensure water security in the future?".

I have other questions that I also want answers to and with your help I will have that opportunity to find the answers we all want and to make a difference as your representative.  

Greg Johnson.
Greg Johnson. Contributed

Rod Kelly

I AM nominating to continue to deliver on the long-term vision this council has created to grow the region's population, enhancing business growth and attracting new business in all industries.

Each centre in the region has a distinct identity providing a wide variety of lifestyle which continues to attract and retain people in the region.

We have positive communities that welcome growth and diversity to sustain future prosperity.

Water security has been, and, will remain among my highest priorities along with prosperous economic activity and continuing to see the region as a must-see tourist destination to experience the natural landscapes, local produce and wineries.

This is a great place to live, work and invest.

I have the region's communities and residents at heart.

I've been immensely proud to represent the entire region and am particularly passionate about Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt, having family connections dating back to the late 1800s.


Rod Kelly.
Rod Kelly.


Cynthia McDonald

I WAS raised on a cattle property in a small town called Gloucester in NSW.

I have very fond memories of my up bringing but we worked hard in all respects.

My passion for the land and cattle developed from my daily work routines and time with my grandfather.

At the age of 16 I had decided to join the Army as an officer.

In December 2002 I married my Husband, Jamie McDonald.

We have two children together Alyxis and Ethan McDonald who are both currently students at Scots PGC.

During my time in the military I completed many different challenging positions.

I left the Army in 2009.

Since leaving the Army, we have returned to the land. We moved back to Queensland to be close to my husbands family

It is my passion for the land and its people that has made me consider the move to local politics. I have worked extensively within the Southern Downs to assist several charities with fundraising and distribution efforts for our local farmers. I believe it would be from within the local council that I would have more ability to influence, bureaucratic processes and other levels of government to help our community.


Cynthia McDonald.
Cynthia McDonald.


Jo McNally

I AM 52, married to Ian and mother to Samuel (21) and Joseph (19).

My husband and I run two businesses which are Detail Joiners and McNally Constructions (GJ Gardner Warwick and Stanthorpe) which employ local staff and local tradespersons.

I decided to run again for councillor because I believe I can offer residents of the Southern Downs a fair and informed voice on council and I am a committed team player.

I am running for the right reason, because I am passionate about what happens in the communities of the Southern Downs.

I have no personal agenda. I simply want to represent our region and its residents and see the medium and long term plans we have been working on over the last four years come to fruition.


Jo McNally.
Jo McNally.


Marika McNichol

I HAVE been a resident of the Granite Belt for 44 years, owned and operated my retail business at Glen Aplin for 16 years, been a partner in McNichol Brothers Earthmoving and raised 8 children.

I know what it's like to work hard and keep a 'tight rein' on spending.

We also have a cattle farm and I understand how difficult it is in the rural sector.

Water security will be of paramount importance into our future.

I have decided to run again because: I would like to advocate for and continue to work on a more secure water supply for our region, better roads, especially in the villages, the Warwick Vehicle Bypass Corridor Concept, upgrade of the Accommodation Creek Bridge and keeping rate rises as low as possible.

I will continue working with the community to ensure the Southern Downs and the Granite Belt are great places to live, work and raise a family.


Marika McNichol
Marika McNichol


Barbara Marsden

I AM excited to be a candidate for the SDRC elections.   I have wanted to be a councillor for many years now but have been governed by work priorities.   So as a retiree, now is the time to do it. I have lived in the area since 1980. I loved it years ago and still do.

My husband and I ran a successful business for many years but are now retired to the land. We have 90 acres which we have farmed with cattle and sheep. The drought has forced us to destock.    We are also caravanners. We enjoy our short term breaks away on the road or in the bush.

We have extended family. Some in Stanthorpe and others in Townsville and Inverell.   We also like to travel overseas when time permits. We have a great group of friends who join us in the caravan exploits.   

Barbara Marsden.
Barbara Marsden. Contributed


Glyn Rees

SHOULD I be elected I would bring eight years experience to the Southern Downs Regional Council table, after serving as a former councillor with Warwick Shire and SDRC.

I'm a former self employed builder, who became a career Fire and Rescue officer of three decades. I am involved in local media and currently work part time in hospitality.

I have a lifelong involvement in sporting and community organisations, though admit have toned down my volunteer commitments in recent times, which will help provide for the challenges of a councillor role.

Formerly from Gladstone, my family and I have been Southern Downs residents for the past 31 years, including 26 in Allora.

I am a previous Warwick Shire Citizen of the Year, last year's Condamine Sports Club Volunteer of the Year and have numerous other community recognition awards

I am well aware of the issues of the region, I believe I still have much to offer and I am confident my local government experience will benefit both the SDRC and our community.



Glyn Rees.
Glyn Rees.


Yve Stocks

I AM deeply committed to the Southern Downs and Granite Belt. I stand by my record of the last 4 years and I believe that there is still a lot of good work I can do for you, the members of our wonderful community.

There is so much more we can achieve together.

In the last term of Council, we have: reduced the debt by $12 million, while retaining a surplus; reduced rate rises over the 4 years; attracted almost $100 million in State and Federal Government grants and completed many infrastructure projects around the entire region,

particularly water, roads and bridges.

Water security is top of the list.

Let me represent you again in 2020 and take what matters to you, to council.


Yve Stocks
Yve Stocks


Stephen Tancred

I'VE lived in Stanthorpe since 1984 and care deeply about the region and it's people.

It's a great place to live, work and play, and although its going through a tough time we will bounce back when the drought breaks properly, and I'd like to be part of that story.

I'm an agronomist who has worked with the region's growers in government roles and in the private sector.

I'm very active in many community organisations.

I think I can make a positive contribution to council and am at a stage of my life where I have the time to devote to the task.

My slogan is "Let's change it" because I feel there can be some improvements to how council is run and perceived.

I respect many of the achievements of past councils, but suffice to say, that if I didn't have some fresh ideas I wouldn't be running.


Stephen Tancred.
Stephen Tancred.


Russell Wantling

MY name is Russell Wantling. I am sixth generation on the Granite Belt and very proud of the part my family has played over the years in the growth of our region.

I have lived here my whole life and think now, more then ever, it's time that our region took a stance on its future.

I have a wife and 3 daughters and 3 grandchildren with one on the way and more than anything I want this region to be a place they can be proud of and can prosper in.

In recent times, I founded Granite Belt Water Relief, a charity designed to help those in need. I have never been one to sit back and watch people struggle.

I am a strong believer in never giving up without a fight. I believe that our council has been lacking in day to day representation.

There is no doubt we need a great mix of people but I believe I am the person who is the people's candidate.   

Russell Wantling.
Russell Wantling. Contributed

Sheryl Windle

THIS term in council was a time of adversity, mixed with many challenges.

I have been proud to be part of a team who worked together to find solutions, for debt, drought, de-amalgamation, bushfires and reduced water supply.

Some tough decisions were made and I have not been afraid to make those decisions.

I invested a significant amount of time to meet with as many residents as possible, in a proactive and positive manner, throughout the region.

I would like to have the opportunity to continue working with organisations and individuals to address community issues and achieve a desired outcome.

I acknowledge there is still a lot to do.

If I am re-elected, it is my intention to remain committed to the role 100 per cent, as a full time councillor.

My number one priority is to continue to plan for long term water security, while maintaining a strong financial position.


Sheryl Windle.
Sheryl Windle.
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