A high-profile Sunshine Coast businessman and sports leader who has spent much of his life contributing to the community, has announced his intention to become the next Mayor of the Sunshine Coast.
Ashley Robinson said controlling cost of living pressures, managing the inevitable growth to come in a way that protects the best of what the region has to offer and respecting the intent of the Planning Scheme are central to his decision to stand for the position.
Mr Robinson has four decades of business experience across the hospitality and community enterprise sectors and an impressive record of community service that saw him awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2016.
He has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds for community groups and those less fortunate, while also spending five years as chair of Community Gaming Benefit Fund which distributes $15 million a quarter to community organisations across Queensland.
The Wurtulla father of two sons was born on a Eudlo pineapple farm and has built a powerful understanding of the region through his ongoing involvement in sport, community service, advocacy for men’s health and quiet generosity to those in need he has encountered throughout his life.
Mr Robinson – affectionately and widely known as ‘Tugboat’ in recognition of the dependable, steady strength he brought first to his rugby league playing days and then to his roles as a business manager and community service – enters a large field vying for the top job at local government elections in March.
He does so after careful consideration of what he can bring to the role and a desire to help guide the future to ensure a strong and diverse economy, a council that genuinely listens to and reflects the community it leads and one that best takes advantage of the opportunities presented by the inevitability of future growth.
“I commit to a full financial review of the books to ensure ratepayers are getting the value for money they deserve and whatever relief is possible from the mounting cost of living pressures affecting Sunshine Coast families,” Mr Robinson said.
“I also commit to respect the Planning Scheme and the certainty it gives people about the areas in which they choose to love and raise their families.
“A review of the Planning Scheme is due and I commit to truly listening to the community of communities that make up our region while being absolutely clear about what is necessary to cater for inevitable growth.”
Since 2010 as CEO of Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club and Alex Supporters Association, Mr Robinson has managed a team that has grown to 120 staff and serves more than 500,000 guests annually and 35,000 members.
From 2005 to 2010 he was General Manager, Hospitality for Oaks Hotels at multiple venues across the state including managing the design and construction of new venues.
From 2001 to 2005, working for Reed Hospitality and Reed Charity, he oversaw a team of more than 200 running hospitality venues across Queensland, supervising all aspects of the business including operations, financial and marketing while also coordinating special charity projects, including the construction of an orphanage in India and a hydrotherapy pool at Currimundi Special School.
As co-founder of the long-running Island Charity Swim Mr Robinson is intimately aware of the struggle experienced in many households and the need for strong community support.
Mr Robinson, who says his great loves are his family, charity work and helping people, has been chairman of the Sunshine Coast Falcons since 2013.
He and wife Sheila are also strong advocates for animal welfare, an involvement that saw him made a Life Member of Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge Society.
Mr Robinson is an inductee to the Sunshine Coast University Sports Hall of Fame, the Sunshine Coast Rugby League Hall of Fame and is a life member of the Sunshine Coast Rugby League.
He said he is a candidate for Mayor who not only knows how a successful business operates, but is also deeply aware of, and has a lifetime’s involvement in, the needs of the community.
Other Mayoral candidates include, incumbent Councillor Jason O’Pray, local television personality and UniSC lecturer Rosanna Natoli and businesswoman Min Swan.
Sunshine Coast Rugby League Club chairman 2013 to current
The Sports Hub chairman 2017 to current
Shine a Light on Racism Ambassador 2022 to current
Lift the Lid for Mental Health Walk Ambassador 2017 to current
Sunshine Coast Council Olympic Legacy Committee 2021 to current
Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club patrolling member 2013 to current
Island Charity Swim Co-founder 2000 and current organising committee member
Henzells Agency and Henzells Pelican Waters Foundation committee 2007-2020
Gambling Community Benefit Fund chair 2015-2020
South East Queensland Gambling Benefit Fund Committee 2013-2015
Sunshine Coast Rugby League chairman 2001-2008
Chair Sunshine Coast Events Centre 2007-2009
Deputy chair Sunshine Coast Events Centre 2004-2007