The Gold Coast Waterways Authority is a statutory authority governed by a decision-making board appointed by, and accountable to, the Minister for Transport and Main Roads.

The Board comprises seven members – all of whom are Gold Coast residents and leaders in the local community with expertise in sustainable planning and development. One of these positions is currently vacant due to the recent resignation of Annaliese Battista.

The Board has three committees: the Audit and Risk Committee, the Science and Innovation Advisory Committee and the Waterways Projects Committee.

The Board is committed to setting priorities locally.

Meet The Board sessions are held regularly throughout the Gold Coast to provide community members with the opportunity to provide their input on planning for the waterways now and into the future. Over the past 12 months, the Board has met with more than 1000 residents from diverse backgrounds and waterways interests. Information on upcoming community consultations can be found by subscribing to our e-newsletter or emailing mail@gcwa.qld.gov.au 

Read the Board Charter.

Read more about our Board members below.

Mara Bún


Chair (since 1 December 2015)

Mara Bún is a Company Director and digital strategy consultant.

A trained economist, Mara began her career in investment banking in Morgan Stanley’s Mergers and Acquisitions Group in New York and later specialised in high technology finance as a senior financial analyst in Morgan Stanley’s San Francisco High Technology Group. She has been a Director of The Allen Consulting Group’s Sydney practice, was Director of Business Development for the CSIRO and a member of CSIRO’s Executive Management Council, and was head of policy and public affairs at CHOICE.  During the rise of the Internet and into the Dotcom boom Mara was Senior Equities Analyst leading Macquarie Bank’s Internet equities research team.

Mara moved to Tallebudgera Valley in 2006 and led research for Canstar. She was founding CEO of Green Cross Australia, a Mikhail Gorbachev charity addressing natural disaster resilience which was seed funded by Peter Beattie and Campbell Newman in 2008 after President Gorbachev participated in a seminal Brisbane Festival event.

Mara is currently a Non-executive Director of two commercial boards, and is strategy and development advisor to Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre, a federally funded research program dedicated to boosting the comparative advantage of the Australian agrifood sector through the use of digital technologies. Food Agility is led by UTS, QUT and Curtin University in collaboration with five state governments and multiple food and technology companies including CommBeef, Sydney Fish Markets, Bosch, The Yield, KPMG and NAB.

Mara was recently appointed honorary national President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Australia’s national environmental non-profit with over 500,000 supporters and a 52 year history of protecting our environmental heritage. She serves as Industry Fellow of the Griffith Business School Centre for Sustainable Enterprise.

Mayor Tom Tate, City of Gold Coast



Tom Tate was elected Mayor of the Gold Coast in April 2012 and re-elected in March 2016.

Mayor Tate is a civil engineer by trade, having graduated from the University of NSW in the early ‘80s.  He started his career in the construction industry and later moved into the tourism and hospitality industry.

With a strong business background, Mayor Tate has spent his time in office ensuring everyone knows that the Gold Coast is ‘open for business’. This has seen certainty return to the city, which in turn has boosted confidence and created significant investment across the Gold Coast.

After the Gold Coast successfully hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Mayor Tate is leading a city that is embracing change and dreaming big. Mayor Tate believes major projects currently in the pipeline will help transform the Gold Coast from a city with potential to a truly world class global centre. These major projects include: the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct; Gold Coast Chinatown and the creation of Southport as the city’s true Central Business District (CBD).

Mayor Tate is working to return that ‘have a go’ spirit back to the Gold Coast. He has committed to reducing the cost of living pressure facing residents, reform council, cut waste and broaden the Gold Coast’s economic base beyond its cornerstones of tourism and construction.

The multicultural Mayor was born in Asia and speaks three languages.

Liz Hay


Appointed Member (since 15 February 2019)

Liz Hay brings decades of Australian and international marine industry experience to the Board specifically in the areas of environment, port security, international maritime law, training and workplace health and safety.

Liz is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Gold Coast-based Australian Shipbuilding & Repair Group (ASRG).

Direct marketing by the ASRG throughout Australia and overseas promotes Australia’s capabilities for all aspects of the construction, refit and repair, sustainment, through-life support, and docking of vessels, in addition to the promotion of Australian products and services provided by the wider marine community, and including coordinating an Australian supply chain (Sovereign Capability) for major Defence contracts.

Liz coordinates a national 24/7 service for urgent voyage repairs in addition to a wide range of services provided in all Australian ports, for all vessels from cargo and cruise ships through to superyachts and fishing vessels.

Liz coordinates internationally-recognised dockmaster courses throughout the Australasian region and other countries.

Liz is or has previously been actively involved with a number of Australian Government groups including more recently:

  • Maritime Industry Security Consultative Forum (Dept of Home Affairs, Office of Transport Security)
  • Maritime Environmental Working Group (Dept of Defence)
  • COVID-19 Taskforce (Dept of Defence)
  • Shipping Consultative Forum (Australian Maritime Safety Authority)
  • Marina & Slipways Working Group – Marine Pest Sectoral Committee (Dept Agriculture Forestry Fisheries)

Liz works with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and with the Department of Infrastructure (Home Affairs) as the international voice on behalf of Australia providing industry input into the formulations of relevant domestic and international legislation.

Liz has led Australian trade delegations, including Gold Coast companies, over some of years both within Australia and to Europe, Asia and the United Arab Emirates etc to showcase those companies and promote Australia’s internationally-recognised capability and expertise in the wider marine sector.  The particular focus of those exhibitions has been cruise ships, super yachts, work boats, fishing vessels, and Defence vessels.

Leslie Shirreffs PSM


Appointed Member (since 1 December 2015)

Leslie Shirreffs has been a Gold Coast resident for more than twenty years, first taking up the position of General Manager of the David Fleay Wildlife Park and then District Manager for the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, with responsibility for the world heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.

She also served as a park expert on the federal government’s Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Consultative Committee, the only non-Tasmanian appointee, and has held responsibility for world heritage policy in Queensland.  Leslie has extensive experience in environmental, natural resource, land, valuation and wildlife management, planning, policy and legislation.

Significantly, she held responsibility for delivery of the end of broad scale clearing as Director of the State’s vegetation management legislation. Through numerous activities, including implementation of the Land and Sea Indigenous Ranger program across the Cape York Peninsula, Gulf of Carpentaria and Lake Eyre Basin, Leslie has extensive experience working with Aboriginal communities across Queensland.

Her early career involved industry development, media and public affairs roles that exposed her to wider community and economic issues.  In 2012, she was awarded a Public Service Medal in the Australia Day Honours for outstanding public service to environmental conservation and management in Queensland. She was recently appointed by the Australian and Queensland Governments as Chair of the Wet Tropics Management Authority.


Judy Spence was a member of the Queensland Parliament for 22 years. For more than twelve of those years, she was a Minister with various portfolios such as Police, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Sport, the Building Services Authority, Families, Disability, Juvenile Justice and Corrections.

Judy led three all party trade delegations to Asia, North America and Europe and has represented Queensland at international forums. She is Griffith University’s inaugural Business School Outstanding Alumnus of the Year and she is patron of many organisations.

She spent weekends and holidays at the Gold Coast all her life, so it was natural that she moved there and settled into Main Beach when she retired.

She is a regular diver in the Seaway and other Gold Coast locations, she also jet skis and fishes.

Judy contributes to public consultation over legislation that affects The Spit and the Broadwater, and she took part in the formulation of The Spit Masterplan. She regularly engages with community groups who are stakeholders in the waterways. She, along with other community members, formed Save Our Broadwater to ensure that the voices of the community are heard when development and policy issues that affect public enjoyment of our open spaces are debated.

She brings her strong legislative and community engagement background to the task of ensuring that Gold Coast’s vast waterways are managed, protected, enhanced and enjoyed in a way that is sustainable and valued by all users.