John Brisbin

John Brisbin


John Brisbin has sent us his full details and biography ( see below) and also responded to our questionnaire.

John Brisbin

Mobile: 0407 471 565 | Email: [email protected]

Goals for my term on Council

  1. I will do my part to ensure Mareeba Shire Council stays on track with its conservative fiscal policy. We can’t go anywhere when we’re saddled with debt. So our budget has to stay in line with our income.

  2. MSC needs to be an excellent workplace with great performance and employee retention. When staff are on-side, the ratepayers get full value and more. I want to ensure that our senior officers and their staff have the support they need to get their jobs done.

  3. I want to see our Shire fully celebrate its natural diversity, from rainforest to agricultural land to the savanna. We need to be more proactive about our policies toward development, conservation, and respect the aspirations of our communities for long-term prosperity and sustainability.

  4. We need funds to deliver on community aspirations. I want to work with the community, fellow Councillors, and staff to attract new funds to the Shire. Council has opportunities to support a wide range of opportunities, even if these are not directly within Council’s responsibilities.
    - We can influence, lobby, and support future-focused initiatives for our farmers, cultural and eco-tourism businesses, Indigenous Rangers, agritech innovators, and transport/logistics operators.
    - We can establish policies and open doors to make Mareeba a great place for, waste reduction/reuse/re-purposing, vocational education, and highly-effective health services.

Social Media

Political party memberships: None, ever.

Hometown: Mount Molloy (inner suburbs)

Professional experience

Board Member, FNQ Gingers & Turmerics Cooperative (2019-pesent)

Director, Queensland Water and Land Carers (2019-present)

Chair, Northern Gulf Resource Management Group (2015-2019)

Secretary, Mitchell River Watershed Management Group (2014-present)

Secretary, Julatten & Molloy Association of Residents & Ratepayers (2012-present)

Managing Director, BoaB interactive (Townsville, 2007-present)

CEO, NT NRM Board (Darwin, 2006-2007)

Coordinator, Arid Lands Environment Centre (Alice Springs, 2003-2006)

Chief Solutions Architect, Social Change Online (Sydney, 1995-2001)

Digital Interactive Developer, Sony Language Laboratory (Owase-shi, Japan 1993-1995)

Owner, Trade Letterpress & Typeworks (Houston, TX 1984-1993)

Surveyor, American Bureau of Shipping (Houston, TX 1982-1984)


MSc Complex Systems & Organisational Development (University of Western Sydney, 2003)

BS, Marine Engineering and Nautical Science, United States Merchant Marine Academy (New York, 1982)


United States Naval Reserve (1976-1986, Hon Discharge, Lieutenant)

Current reading list

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (Jonathan Haidt)

Farming for the Long Haul: Resilience and the Lost Art of Agricultural Inventiveness (Michael Foley)

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (Robin Wall Kimmerer)

The 3rd Alternative: Solving Life's Most Difficult Problems (Stephen Covey)

The Memory of Old Jack (Wendell Berry)


After half a lifetime of moving around, John Brisbin arrived in Australia in 1995 and immediately felt a sense of coming home. “Everyone needs the chance to feel at home, and for me, Australia is home.”

A native of the USA, John has worked and travelled widely. He’s chucked prawns on a trawler in the Gulf of Mexico, employed a dozen craftsmen in a hot-metal letterpress shop, developed interactive digital media while living in a rural Japanese fishing village, and spent way too much time in front of computers for the past 35 years.

John gained Australian citizenship in 1997 on the basis of his skills with internet technology. In 2003 he completed a higher education degree at the University of Western Sydney in the emerging discipline of Social Ecology. He is majority owner and Managing Director of a boutique technology business called BoaB interactive. He notes: “I have run my own businesses for most of my life. I know what it’s like to balance a budget, deliver on time, and take responsibility for my own future.”

After perching in the Blue Mountains, Alice Springs, and Darwin, John and wife Caroline decided to make their last move. Starting in Townsville and then Cairns and northern New South Wales, it took almost 4 years of searching before they finally found themselves at home in Mount Molloy in 2012. They are growing up with their two daughters, a dog, and a promising garden.

John has served as Secretary for the Julatten & Molloy Association of Ratepayers and Residents (JAMARR) for seven years. He has also been elected for the past 5 years to serve as Secretary of the Mitchell River Watershed Management Group.

“My grandparents were subsistence farmers and tradesmen. At seasonal gatherings we prepared huge meals of garden produce and sat down as an extended family to give thanks and enjoy each others’ company. Those are some of my fondest memories. I think that is why I am so passionate about sustainable agriculture, healthy community life, and the joys (and challenges) of family.”

John has completed his two elected terms as Chair of the Northern Gulf Resource Management Group. That role took him across the region, from Mareeba to Mt Surprise, Georgetown, Croydon and Normanton to Dimbulah, Chillagoe and Kowanyama.

He was recently elected to serve as the Northern and Southern Gulf Director of Queensland Water and Land Carers (QWaLC). He is also a founding member of the Far North Queensland Gingers and Turmeric Cooperative which has just been established.

At the urging of local residents and Mareeba leaders, John has put his hand up to stand for Mareeba Shire Council at the local government elections in late March 2020.

“Mareeba Shire has a fascinating history, a powerful story of persistence and adaptation to change, and is poised to grow into a beautiful, sustainable future. I can’t imagine a better way to serve my community than to represent them on local council.”

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