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Meet your NEW Councillors

Kristy Vallely

Division 6


I’m married to the man I met through my brother when I was 16. He went to St Augustine’s and I went to St Monica’s. He’s my best friend and my absolute soul mate – mushy I know (but true).

We have three children; Titan would have been 16 this year but sadly he passed at birth, we then went on to have a daughter Maya. She’s a gorgeous girl and her maturity often blows me away. She’s such a kind soul who stands up for what she believes in. We also have a little rascal named Texas; our little bright spark who keeps us on our toes and has a heart of gold.

My roots in the Division 6 community run deep, having married into the Vallely family who were butchers in the area from 1925 to 2017 when the last butchery was sold.

I am a very active member of the business community founding the well-known online community She Means Business along with organising and hosting many community events.

In 2012 I established the online community The Imperfect Mum. Over the last nine years, what began as a humble grass roots online support network, has grown to become globally recognised for the work it has done for families, helping an estimated 100,000 ‘imperfect mums’ across many countries. In 2016 I was featured on 60 minutes for my work in this area.

I was born in Mt Isa and spent the first ten years of my life in Karumba which has a very rich and diverse culture.  From fishermen to some of the wealthiest people in Australia, it was an enriching place to be bought up.   

I’ve had the pleasure of managing our family-owned business Harleys Educational for over 26 years, and today it is one of the largest independently run educational retailers in Queensland.

What have been your biggest challenges?

Managing a campaign and election during COVID-19 has probably been one of the hardest challenges. And trying to wrap my head around the budget during this time has been incredibly difficult.

What was your motivation for standing for council?

I’m someone who deeply cares about community issues. Therefore, I created The Imperfect Mum a community where people from different backgrounds and cultures come together to support each other judgment free. I’ve always been incredibly passionate about where I live, and I love helping people so becoming a councillor was such a natural next step.

What do you hope to achieve in your 4 year term

Our community is facing challenges that we’ve never experienced before. This is a time like no other and getting through to the other side will require a lot of hard work. I will contribute everything in my power to help ensure that the Cairns community can look forward to a bright future, once we have emerged out of this. My main goal is to be a strong voice for not just my division but the whole of Cairns. 

How are you managing work life balance in your new role?

I have a lovely friend who helps me significantly by cooking nutritious family meals. My kids are also older, so they help around the house a lot. The other tip is to get up really early and get everything done so the rest of the day flows well.

What’s your top 3 goals for your division

The Crystal Cascades upgrade

The cycleway along Freshwater creek

Start works on the Redlynch Sporting Precinct

Amy Eden

Division 5


I grew up in Darwin – the beautiful ‘jewel of the north’ in the Northern Territory. I came to Cairns in 2003, completed a Bachelor of Social Work from JCU Smithfield in 2008 and have spent the past 12 years developing, delivering and managing a broad range of programs and projects, with a focus on increasing community engagement and participation in both government and non-government sectors.

One of my passions is to get involved with community projects and I have done that through the establishment of the Manoora Community Garden and the fantastic 3MPride project which included securing $100,000 in funding to produce several music videos written and sung by Indigenous youth that have gone viral and won awards, and delivered mentoring and leadership workshops for youth.

What have been your biggest challenges?

It has always been about balancing my desire to volunteer on community projects with having a full-time job and being a hands-on mum to two vibrant and active young children. Since being elected to Council, it has been challenging to digest how things work within this large organisation and understanding how to get things done while we discuss the upcoming budget which, clearly due to the effects of coronavirus on the community overall. It is proving to be a difficult process to balance the need to deliver to the people of Cairns whilst trying to keep rate rises to a minimum.

What was your motivation for standing for council?

I have always had a passion to make my community a better place to live and raise a family, so when Mayor Bob Manning approached me 18 months ago to consider running for Council, I was initially surprised and had not really thought about entering politics. But as I pondered what that would mean, it became clear that if I wanted to make a real difference in the community, being in local government was an effective vehicle through which I could do that.

What do you hope to achieve in your 4 year term

Clearly in the wake of the coronavirus and how that has decimated our tourism industry and many small businesses, our focus needs to be very much on the economy and how Council can constructively assist to bring the city back to where we were before the crisis hit earlier this year. It’s going to be a tough road back and it’s going to take a collaborative effort for us to get the support we will need from other levels of government to succeed in bringing our economy back to pre-COVID-19 levels. I look forward to being a part of that recovery process and to being able to help my community out of the abyss we have found ourselves in.

How are you managing work life balance in your new role?

It’s all about time management at this stage. My children are adapting to the change well thanks to the support network I have here. I have always been a busy person so it’s a matter of putting time aside for quality interaction with my family and reminding myself daily that it’s the small, simple things in life that are often the most gratifying and important.

How are you hoping to support businesses through COVID-19?

As soon as the crisis became clear a few months ago, Mayor Bob Manning moved quickly to set up two sub-committees (Human and Social, and Economic Recovery) aimed at managing the community’s path through the virus and along the long road to recovery. Council will continue to review our role and what we can do to help and support business through direct and indirect means.  We will strongly advocate for Cairns to ensure we get the support we need for our tourism industry to bounce back and explore what other avenues can be pursued that will strengthen our region’s economy and make it more resilient.

What’s your top 3 goals for your division

To make our CBD a vibrant, greener, cooler place to visit and do business.

To ensure that ageing infrastructure in older suburbs is renewed and improved.

To make our suburbs safer places to live and encourage a greater sense of belonging and community.


Rhonda Coghlan

Division 8

I grew up in Melbourne then moved to Sydney where I worked at several sporting clubs in many capacities including sport administration and hospitality. My time spent in Rugby League clubs is where I developed a love of the game which continues to this day.

In Western Sydney I met and married my best friend, built a house and had two beautiful children.

In those early years we realised we wanted a better life for our family, so we put the house on the market, the kids in the car and headed to Cairns! We first settled in Yorkey’s Knob, where we remained for the next 20 years, eventually moving to Smithfield.

My working life in Cairns has predominantly been spent in financial services, having worked for 20 years at Suncorp Bank in roles which include Financial Planner, Business Banking Specialist and lending. In recent years I have worked as Relationship Manager / Business Development Manager with Queensland’s largest superannuation fund Q Super. When I look over this, it’s very clear, everything I have done to date has brought me to this point. I know in my heart this is just where I am meant to be.

What have been your biggest challenges?

COVID-19 and its effect on Council’s budget and on the people of Cairns, both from a personal and business perspective.

What was your motivation for standing for council?

I have always been involved with community, I’ve always had a strong voice and I’ve always been vocal in the belief that you should be prepared to put your hand up to represent what you believe in.

What do you hope to achieve in your 4 year term

This is twofold, for Cairns, I would like to see council come through this crisis financially sound to ensure we continue the excellent services and infrastructure we have been able to provide in the past. And personally, I would like to empower the residents of Division 8 to feel they can come to me with ideas, problems and possible solutions. After all that is why we are elected.

How are you hoping to support businesses through COVID-19?

This is a time for stimulus and to move forward with projects and infrastructure – not a time to sit on our hands. However, it’s also a time for compassion, this part of the country is doing it tougher than most.  As a result, we have:

Introduced a hardship program for those that are experiencing financial hardship

Reduced rents for businesses leasing Council facilities

Waived all outdoor dining fees

Extended the due date on a raft business fees

Extended the due date for water usage

Dedicated funding for the “keep it in Cairns” campaign which was coordinated by the Cairns Chamber of Commerce

We are doing our very best to keep businesses and people in work. Personally, we should social distance as much as possible, respect other people’s personal space, purchase locally, do the tourist thing, eat out at local cafés and restaurants (that’s the good part).

How are you managing work life balance in your new role?

I am still finding this balance and I suspect I will still be still juggling this balance at the end of year one, two, three and four. I have raised my family while working full time and still managed to be involved in many community associations and sporting clubs. Same, same. Right? I’m sure many others can relate to this. What do they say? Ask a busy person?

Goals for your division?

Continuation of upgrades to current and new infrastructure ensuring standards are kept high

To see the community take pride, connect and enjoy our beautiful community

To support, share and implement the vision of the people of Division 8

I would particularly like to see better/ more sporting facilities and spaces for young people as the community grows. I am a big believer that this is the best way council can contribute to the current issues with crime

To see more people enjoying what we have – in a crazy way the current crisis has allowed time for this

Support the many sporting clubs in any way possible




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