Fresh faces join regional Community Strategy Leadership Group
  • Wednesday 29 June 2022

Seven new members will bring an extra perspective to the Sunshine Coast Community Strategy Leadership Group (CSLG) to begin their two-year term and help build a stronger local community.

Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor and CSLG member David Law said the group consisted of members who reflected the local community.

“Members include representatives from government, community groups, organisations, agencies, service providers and community who have a focus on providing local, social and community services and outcomes,” Cr Law said.

“It has been a pleasure to work alongside members from the first term and achieve a number of successes, including establishing the Sunshine Coast community hub initiative in response to supporting those experiencing homelessness through COVID-19, advocating for and supporting a youth housing project in Nambour and facilitating connections between other levels of government, agencies and community.

“I welcome the new members and am excited to see their visions for the group come to life.

“Council is committed to the Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041 vision – together we thrive – and this group helps advance our shared goal of a stronger community by delivering the Community Strategy priority areas and actions.”

Council welcomes new and continuing members of the CSLG, including:

  • Christine Thomas, Founding Director and CEO, Cygnet Centre for Peacebuilding & Transformation
  • Cr David Law, Division 10 and Community Portfolio Councillor (continuing)
  • Dane Cross, Senior Advisor - Access & Inclusion, Spinal Life Australia
  • Helen Andrew, Community Activator
  • Howard Buckley, Project Worker, Sunshine Coast Coalition of Community Boards
  • James O’Brien, Regional Director, Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy (continuing)
  • Karen Gullo, Program Coordinator, Suncoast Care
  • Kathleen Hope, General Manager, SunnyKids
  • Mervat Quirke, Manager, Strategic Partnerships, Thompson Institute (continuing)
  • Phil Smith, Principal, Gomango Architects (continuing)
  • Tanya Bell, CEO, YouTurn Limited

Thank you to our outgoing CSLG members:

  • Andrew Elvin, CEO of Coast2Bay
  • David Hollinsworth, Adjunct Professor USC, Multicultural Advisory Group
  • Kathy Rogers, Senior Engagement Officer, North Coast Region, Sport and Recreation, Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport 
  • Tegan Schefe, National Manager, Indigenous Suicide Prevention, LivingWorks Australia
  • Tim Wess, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Vicky Meyer, Community Sector Leader


2020-2022 CSLG members, Mervat Quirke, James O’Brien, Cr David Law, David Hollinsworth, Vicky Meyer, Phil Smith, Tim Wess, Andrew Elvin

The achievements during the CSLG’s first term include:

  • Establishing the Sunshine Coast community hub initiative as a response to support those experiencing homelessness through COVID-19
  • Advocacy and support to advance a Youth Housing Project in Nambour
  • Input and advocacy into the Planning Scheme review process and considerations and opportunities for affordable and accessible housing
  • Developing and delivering the FestiveKindness initiative throughout Christmas 2020
  • Delivering the Community Strategy forum in May 2020 to discuss how we create a shared, inclusive regional identity together
  • Establishing dialogue and partnerships on sport and recreation initiatives with multicultural communities
  • Supporting and partnering on respective strategic action plans and priorities of CSLG member organisations
  • Providing a meaningful voice and contribution into the implementation, collaboration and advocacy of the Community Strategy priorities and actions
  • Facilitating connections between other levels of government, agencies, community organisations and community.

 Image 1: New 2022-2024 CSLG members, Mervat Quirke, James O’Brien, Tanya Bell, Phil Smith, Christine Thomas, Kathleen Hope, Karen Gullo, Dane Cross, Helen Andrew, Cr David Law