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 nine members – all of whom are Gold Coast residents and leaders in the local community with expertise in sustainable planning and development.

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. These events attract 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 (effective 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.


Appointed Member (effective 2 October 2020)

Dr Aysin Dedekorkut-Howes is an urban and environmental planner with over twenty years of experience in teaching and researching in the United States, Turkey, and Australia and is an award-winning lecturer and researcher. She has a PhD from Florida State University, USA and is currently a Senior Lecturer at Griffith University’s School of Environment and Science and Program Director of Urban and Environmental Planning.

Aysin is a member of Griffith University’s Cities Research Institute and her research expertise is in strategic planning, natural resource management, climate change adaptation and disaster resilience. She has a specific interest in water resource management and has worked on a number of projects around the world dealing with planning and governance of water resources for both quality and supply. These projects ranged from reducing urban stormwater runoff and agricultural nonpoint source pollution, surface water improvement, and estuary and marine protection programs to interjurisdictional water supply disputes, drought and flood resilience, and sea level rise. She has published widely on climate change adaptation and urban and disaster resilience.

Aysin has been a Gold Coast resident since 2008, lives in Burleigh Heads, and loves kayaking in the Gold Coast waterways. She has been a member of GCWA’s Science and Innovation Advisory Committee since 2017. In addition to her international experience she has been working on urbanisation, growth management, climate change adaptation, and disaster resilience in the South East Queensland region in the last decade. With a keen interest in the Gold Coast she has researched its development history and prospects and has produced several publications. She is the co-editor of the book Off the Plan: The Urbanisation of the Gold Coast.


Appointed Member (effective 2 October 2020)

Andrew Fielding has been employed in the marine industry for 30 years with experience in yacht brokering, marine retail, wholesale and boat building. Born and raised on the Gold Coast, Andrew is a graduate of The Southport School. He studied Tourism and Hospitality, and Maritime Logistics and Management at the Australian Maritime College.

His experience and reputation for being honest, knowledgeable and for providing professional service has made Andrew a leader in his field. He is part of a family marine business which has been operating on the Gold Coast for over 45 years, is a Director of the Boating Industry Association (BIA) and is the Boating Industry Association Queensland Council Chairman.

Andrew is passionate about all aspects of the marine industry and is focused on seeing its future success. He is also an advocate for boating safety and responsible boat ownership. Andrew is a member of the Queensland Government’s War on Wrecks Task Force, an initiative to dispose of derelict and abandoned vessels.

Having spent the past 40 plus years living within walking distance of the Broadwater foreshore and having used the Gold Coast Waterways on a daily basis for both recreational and business purposes, Andrew is very enthusiastic about ensuring the waterways are successfully managed so they can be enjoyed for generations to come.


Appointed Member (effective 2 October 2020)

Dr Mark Gibbs is a coastal science and management practitioner, researcher and sea captain. Mark has over 30-years’ experience in senior project and organisational leadership in coastal and marine research and operations. Over the last decade he has sat on the board of a number of not-for-profits.

Mark has developed and led coastal engineering and management projects, and ocean yacht racing campaigns around the world.

Trained as an engineer and oceanographer, Mark is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, and adjunct professor at both Griffith University and QUT. He also holds commercial seafarer Master qualifications.

Mark presently works with the head contractor to help lead a very large Federal Government-funded reef restoration and adaptation program in the Great Barrier Reef.



Leslie Shirreffs PSM


Appointed Member (effective 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


Appointed member (effective 8 May 2020)

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.



 Appointed Member (effective 2 October 2020)

Greg Vann is qualified in planning and economics. He has been at the forefront of planning in Queensland for nearly 40 years, as a well known consultant and previously in local and State government. He is a trusted voice in the profession and one of Australia’s best known planners. He has been project director for wide ranging strategic and regional planning projects; drafted planning schemes; providing planning advice to the private sector, local and state governments; development assessment and planning appeals; reviewing planning and development assessment processes; transport planning, economic development and lecturing.

He is currently on the board of Ethos Urban, and has held many leadership positions, including Qld President and national councillor of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA,) representing the professional sector in SEQ regional planning and chairing the State’s Transit Oriented Development Taskforce. He is a life fellow and CPP of PIA and has had a life-long dedication to advancing the profile of the profession and the capability of its practitioners.

Greg has a particular professional interest in the advancing and advocating leading practice for the future of communities, planning policy and implementation, delivering better functioning communities with balanced transport systems and high quality urban environments. He enjoys the challenge of delivering quality outcomes in projects with tight timeframes and resources.

Some of Greg’s projects include:

Strategic Planning and Planning Schemes:

  • Project Director, South East Queensland Regional Plan review (2016-2018)
  • Strategic advisor – City of Gold Coast Council on planning matters (2013-present)
  • Various roles – Planning Scheme Review for Brisbane City Council (2008-13)
  • Strategic director – Rockhampton Regional Council planning scheme (2011-12)
  • Strategic assistance – Lockyer Valley Regional Council
  • Strategic adviser – Gladstone Regional Council planning scheme (2013-2015)

Greg has also undertaken Community Communication and Consultation in the following areas:

  • Facilitated numerous forums and workshops for a range of public sector clients for specific projects or studies, running training courses (e.g. on SPA, Natural Resource Management).
  • Provided mentoring or peer to peer coaching support for planning professionals at all stages of their career at a number of councils, including Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, and State Government
  • Assisted in running the PIA mentoring program in Qld from its inception in 2009 to 2015.