NEW FACE IN TOWN: North Burnett Regional Council's new CEO Gary Rinehart.
NEW FACE IN TOWN: North Burnett Regional Council's new CEO Gary Rinehart. Contributed

New CEO for Council

GARY Rinehart has recently commenced as the new Chief Executive Officer of the North Burnett Regional Council.

Mr Rinehart started off in local government a while back in the Darling Downs, his first role as CEO was at Childers, and he has a strong interest in local government.

"I then left local government a few years back and spent a bit of time in the private sector working on large scale construction projects for contractors, origin energy which is APL energy on the gas project that takes gas out of Gladstone and then on some large scale road rail projects for BHP," he said.

Then a couple of years ago he was doing some contract work for the City of Sydney and became quite interested in returning to local government.

Having left local government for a while, Mr Rinehart thought that some of the skills that he had picked up during construction projects and in the private sector would be useful in local government.

Mr Rinehart said he would like to take these skills back and merge the mindsets.

"The good things from the local government, the government structures and disciplines are frequently missing from the construction projects to be frank and then bring back the good things from construction, the greater emphasis on safety, the real strong emphasis on the bottom line," he said.

Mr Rinehart emphasised the bottom line, saying if you have unhappy shareholders, you then have an unhappy head office.

"I know a lot about what it takes to deliver a project successfully from a commercial point of view and that also than translates into what we do, how we deliver our projects and how we view the business side of what we do," he said.

"My vision for here is that we maintain that sort of close to the community feel that the smaller councils have but all of that is underpinned by a well oiled business machine that operates on good systems and processes and has highly competent and trained people."

After working for the City of Sydney, Mr Rinehart did some work for Isaac Regional Council in Moranbah as an advisor to the mayor and CEO.

"I got really excited then to be back in local government and the few opportunities I had there I suppose in that role inspired me to look for a CEO's role again," he said.

As Mr Rinehart spent time at Childers and Bargara as part of the Isis and Burnett councils, he knew the area really well.

"In fact for my wife and I Gayndah was a little bit of a holiday destination, when she worked in Kingaroy and when we were in Bundaberg, Bargara area we would just come here for weekends, just because we like it," he said.

Mr Rinehart said it different living in Gayndah.

"It's better different, now we don't have to go to go back to work, we actually stay and come to work," he said.

Mr Rinehart believes that it is more enjoyable living in the North Burnett, then it was visiting here.

"We love this place," he said.

Mr Rinehart said the organisation had its challenges as every organisation did, however that was why he came here to identify those challenges.

He said there might be a bit of a transition phase from how things were traditionally done, to how to do them in a more optimal way.

"I have a real interest in technology, I don't know anything about robots, robotics, drones and all of that sort of thing, but know that they are a huge part of the future and I'm excited to be working in a council where those things are going to be looked at and if they are good then they will be embraced," he said.

Mr Rinehart said for the region he wanted to keep building on agriculture and look at how the council could support our agricultural base.

As well as working with the community on tourism strategies and economic development generally.

Mr Rinehart wants to look at ways to hold the population decline and try and get people back here, interested in working here and also working with our schools to make sure that we are playing our part in seeing that schools are developing jobs of the future not just of the past.

"It would be nice to know that once students have finished their eduction, there was an opportunity to come back here, that we are actually creating jobs that excite people and interest people for the future," he said.

Mr Rinehart said it was about council being positioned to have the jobs for the future economy, not just the jobs for what the economy historically looked like, without in any way leading to not supporting the existing agricultural sector and existing tourism enterprises.

"We want to build on those fundamentals of the economy but we want to look to the new economy and put those things in place as well," he said.

Mr Rinehart moved to Gayndah with his wife, Sally, and their puppy, however his wife still works in Sydney.

From a family perspective, Gayndah was also a great location to relocate to, Mr Rinehart's mum is in Chinchilla and his wife's mum is in Bundaberg.

"It's the closest that we have been to them for a long time," he said.

Mr Rinehart has six children between his wife and himself.

"I have three boys from a previous marriage and Sally has three girls from a previous marriage, so we are the Brady Bunch," he said.

Mr Rinehart said coming to the North Burnett felt like home as there was a sense of peace in the area.

"I walk home and plonk out on my veranda and take the top of a cold beer and it's about as good as life gets for me," he said.


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