Thursday, March 7, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

‘I don’t do waivers and favours’ Richard Evans says what he means, and means what he says.

On the eve of the Whitsunday Regional Council mayor election freelance journalist Samantha Conroy talks to candidate, former Liberal MP, Richard Evans, about community service and the importance of democracy.

Samantha Conroy (SC) – Why? Why are you nominating to become mayor?

Richard Evans (RE) – Excellent question. Julie Hall announced she wasn’t standing, and a number of community leaders asked me to consider nominating for mayor. My key criteria were to determine if I could make a difference for real change and continue Julie’s legacy. I can, so put my hand up.

SC – Why is community service so important for you?

RE – I was raised in a family that had a strong attitude towards community service. I started volunteering at a young age and have continued that service. Nowadays, I volunteer with VMR Whitsundays in their radio room, co-convening the Whitsundays Writers Festival, providing free training with our regional libraries on writing and publishing, providing pro-bono time to local businesses and Chambers of Commerce, and I’m a member of Probus. I guess, if we don’t contribute to the community by volunteering, then who will? President Kennedy said it well and I’ll paraphrase, “ask not what the community can do for you; ask what you can do for the community.’

SC – So, how is the campaign progressing?

RE – I have had the privilege of meeting a lot of fine Whitsunday locals and this is one of the true benefits in being a representative of the community. There are wonderful stories out there and I am lucky enough to hear them. There is also a lot of concern and challenges, and I am grateful to those who have shared their experiences with me. The campaign is going well, although I reckon apathy is a big issue.

SC – Apathy? What have you seen that allows you to say that?

RE – Most folks don’t know the political system in Australia. Many reckon all politicians are liars, even my dad said that once to me when I was a federal MP. Many in our community have lost faith and trust in democracy, and they are frustrated with local government. They generally reckon things won’t change; I want to change that.

SC – Can it change?

RE – If we elect the right people, it can. If voters don’t care for who they vote for and why, we might as well keep that ‘dodo’ billboard on the Bruce Highway. I haven’t met anyone happy with council, which is a shame. I have been working hard to explain why I am running and what to expect if elected mayor. I have released policy statements on the major issues of council accountability, economic development, arts and culture, the environment, and women and girls. I am on the record for what I will do, what I stand for. I am yet to see any other candidate do that.

SC – Independent?

RE – Totally, but I must disclose I was an elected member of the Liberal Party in the federal parliament. I worked hard to represent my electorate and established national policy and laws on issues relating to the arts, feral cats, breast cancer research, disability funding, and mandatory business codes of conduct. I’m big on codes of conduct that modify and improve attitudes, behaviour, and practices.

SC – Any campaign moments that have made you laugh?

RE – There’s a few but I reckon a dog raising its leg and blasting my water bottle at Bowen Community Markets is close to the top.

SC – Why should I vote for you?

RE – You have a clear choice. More of the same or head in another direction of accountability to bring the Whitsunday pride back. There is way too much dis-unity, way too much of ‘us versus them’, way too much frustration with council, and way too much complaining. I get it and I want to fix it. If you want real change, then I bring an enormous amount of experience, capability, and a plan to start from day one.


   • Star sign? Virgo.  

   • Favourite colour? Red. 

   • Favourite holiday destination? The Whitsundays of course, and Paris. 

   • What do you eat for breakfast? None, but I enjoy a cup of tea.

   • What’s the last song you listened to? It wasn’t Tay Tay, I was singing Hotel California

   • The best book/movie/podcast you listened to so far this year? The Campaign, hilarious.

   • Fav Quote: It’s the extra things ordinary people do that make them extraordinary.

   • Tell Us Something most people don't know about you? When I was a politician, Eric Bana parodied me in a segment on the comedy skit show Full Frontal. 

   • Describe your personality in three words: Enjoys a Beer


Executive Leadership

   • Australian Retailers Association, Executive Director

   • Franchise Council of Australia, Executive Director

   • Fashion and Textiles Council of Australia, Executive Director

Corporate Management

   • Wesfarmers Rural Newspaper Division, Advertising Manager

   • Griffin Coal Group Advertising Division, NSW & WA General Manager

   • LJ Hooker Retail Management & Leasing, Senior Shopping Centre Manager

Business Owner & Operator

   • Conroy Llewellyn & Evans, Advocacy advisory

   • Malthouse Group, Mentor and Strategic Consultant

   • Priority Management (WA franchisee), Management productivity consultant

Board Directorships

   • Fellow Australian Company Directors Institute

   • Australian Association of Practice Management

   • Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

   • World Franchise Council

   • Western Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Regulatory Bodies

Member of the following bodies:

   • Australian Tax Office Industry Group

   • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

   • Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission

   • Food and Grocery Code of Conduct

   • Office of Franchise Mediator


   • Federal Member of Parliament for Cowan (WA). Liberal Party.

   • Parliamentary Committee Member for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs; Community Affairs; Environment, Recreation and the Arts; Industry, Science and Technology; Long Term Strategies; and Publications.

   • Joint House Committee Member for Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings and Public Works.

Qualifications & Certifications

   • Bachelor of Arts (Industrial Relations major), University of Western Australia

   • Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching, Curtin University

   • Master of Creative Writing, University of Canberra

   • Certified Mediator

Whitsundays Community

   • Small business mentor

   • VMR Whitsunday, radio base volunteer

   • Whitsunday Regional Libraries, pro-bono trainer in writing and publishing

   • Whitsundays Writers Festival, pro-bono Festival Co-convenor

   • Local author of eight fiction and one business book

   • Whitsundays Chamber of Commerce and Industry, pro-bono Policy Officer and Strategic Advisor representing the Chamber on the Queensland Small Business Commissioner’s Regional Roundtable and Business Chamber Queensland’s Industrial Relations Taskforce (1 May 2023-9 February 2024).

Heading at bottom

Vote 1 Richard Evans –

Integrity, Unity, Leadership

In small point size

Authorised by: Richard Evans, 12/12 Eshelby Drive, Cannonvale, Qld, 4802

Part Two

Text to go in the gutter of the page.


Main - Evans releases policy statements

Sub Head – The only candidate to do so publicly.

Get rid of ticks.

Investing in Whitsunday Women and Girls  


This policy statement outlines initiatives I will deliver as your mayor that prioritise Whitsunday women and girls that will have positive flow on affect to the entire community:


✔️ Establish formal pathways that provides a greater voice to Whitsunday women and girls.

✔️ Explore collaborations and initiatives that elevate education and workforce opportunities.

✔️ Activate Council property and spaces to support business enterprise, acceleration, and connection.  

✔️ Implement initiatives that celebrate and communicate accomplishments of Whitsunday women and girls.

Elevating Accountability and Performance in Whitsunday Regional Council.


With a focus on addressing community concerns regarding overspending, lack of transparency, and governance inefficiencies, I pledge to implement the following nine initiatives:


✔️ Council Code of Conduct

✔️ Financial Accountability

✔️ Clear Performance Expectations and KPIs

✔️ Performance Reviews and Recognition

✔️ Transparent Decision-Making Processes

✔️ Community Consultation and Engagement

✔️ Ratepayer Engagement Framework

✔️ Continuous Improvement

✔️ Mayoral Strategy



Advancing our Culture, Heritage, and Arts


My policy statement on culture, heritage and arts not only aims to enrich the lives of our residents but also recognises the significant role arts and culture play in fostering social health and cohesion, Whitsunday pride, and economic prosperity.


As your mayor, I will action:


✔️ Develop a robust strategy and establish improved governance for effective and responsible systems, funding allocation, and resourcing to future proof our culture, heritage and arts.

✔️ Feasibility for short-term initiatives that could better active current council spaces and resource regional events and activities.

✔️ Curate a long-term vision that looks to the next 20 to 50 years that could elevate our regional as a leading national cultural destination.

Economic Development: Unleashing Prosperity, Sustaining Tradition


I envision a future where the Whitsundays region is a beacon of innovation and inclusivity. Through strategic planning, considered approaches, and collaboration we can unlock our region’s full potential and not embark on development for progress’ sake.


As your mayor, I will action:


✔️ Prioritise housing as an essential economic strategy.

✔️ Infrastructure development required for better business and investment attraction.

✔️ Showcase the Whitsundays as a destination for business, employees, and investment.



Balancing Progress & Preservation: An Environment Policy for the Whitsundays


My position on the environment is this: I am not a prohibitionist, but an adaptationist with a focus on having a balanced, informed position between conservation and progress.


As your mayor, I will action:


✔️ An audit of the Council’s Community Plan 2022/2032 to better understand and elevate accountability and engagement.

✔️ Engage with the region’s Traditional Owners to deepen our respecting First Nations heritage and environmental practices.

✔️ Stronger environmental positions and practices on biodiversity conservation, climate change, sustainable practices for home and at work, heat mitigation, energy-efficient town planning, and habitat conservation just to name a few.

Bottom notice

All policies statements available online at:

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