About Greg

Please select a link…

The Early Days
The 70’s & 80’s
Bargara & the Coral Coast Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
The Bargara Streetscape Project
Election to Council
Justice of the Peace
Citizen of the Year Award
Greg’s Council Appointments/Memberships
Greg’s Civic Appointments
Greg’s Diving & Marine Qualifications

The Early Days

I was born in Hong Kong in 1955 to English expats Norman and Madge Barnes and was the youngest of three children behind Roger and Jane.

I gained my secondary education at King George Fifth (KGV) School in Kowloon and migrated to Sydney in 1972.

In 1974 my parents migrated to Kerikeri, New Zealand when Dad retired as Asst. Director of Education (Hong Kong). A few years later they were followed by my sister Jane and her husband Peter Binstead. Both of my parents have since passed away and Jane and Peter continue to live in Kerikeri while my brother Roger and his wife Melise reside in Sydney.

Growing up in Hong Kong during what I guess could be described as the end of the ‘colonial era’, experiencing the Communist riots in 1966 & 1967 and witnessing the influx of military vessels and personnel on R & R  from the Vietnam War (and especially in the Wanchai District & the China Fleet Club!!) remain just a part of my earlier memories.

The 70’s & 80’s

In 1974 I joined the New South Wales Police Force and served mainly with the Mounted Police, General Duties and Highway Patrol.

In 1977 I married Isobel and we were blessed with the birth of Christopher in 1979 and Susan in 1982. (Both currently reside on the Gold Coast having received much of their education at Bargara State School and Kepnock High School. Christopher received an Honours Degree in Applied Science (Biotechnology) at the University of Queensland in2001 and Susan is employed in the tourism/travel industry).

During 1978/79 I was seconded to a small covert surveillance team which had initially been established to gather intelligence on a serial arsonist operating in the Sydney area during a period when the controversial ’21 Division’ was being dismantled. After the offender was arrested, we were assigned to a variety of undercover surveilance duties which included narcotics and armed robbery offences being conducted mainly across the Eastern Suburbs & Kings Cross areas.

Following Christopher’s birth in 1979 I’d had enough of witnessing the sleazier side of Sydney so I applied to return to uniform, cut my hair, shaved the beard and joined the Highway Patrol before transferring to Cessnock in the Hunter Valley. I was determined not to raise my children in the environment that Sydney had on offer. In 1983 I transferred to Newcastle and later to the nearby Charlestown Highway Patrol base which was my final posting.

In 1986 I was injured following the pursuit of a stolen vehicle when the police vehicle that I was driving was rammed several times before a final collision ended the chase. With the assistance of Drug Squad officers, the offender, who had been fleeing from an armed robbery, was arrested. Unfortunately, as a result of the incident, I was injured and later discharged as ‘Hurt On Duty’.

Bargara & The Coral Coast Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

Isobel and I relocated our family to Bargara in 1987 and I spent several years working in the diving industry as both an Instructor and ADAS Level 1 Commercial Diver. In 1995 we opened Bargara Beach Dive & Leisure in See Street and purchased a charter boat for local dive trips which focused on the Cochrane Artificial Reef.

As a local businessman it didn’t take long to notice the lack of community pride and confidence which was reflected in one of the State’s highest unemployment rates of over 14%. The CBD had a dilapidated appearance and business patronage was declining. There was a real sense of doom and gloom over the whole area.

I felt that the potential of the coastal region needed a catalyst to kick-start the economy and bring back a true sense of ‘identity’. In 1997 & 1998 I founded the Coral Coast Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Bargara’s ANZAC Day Dawn Service commemorations, the Coral Coast Turtle Festival, Tandem Skydiving jumps and Parasailing activities utilising the beach in front of the CBD.

From the outset, we recognised that the Chamber’s focus would be on the tourism industry given our coastal location and the make up of membership which rely heavily on our visitors. At the same time we were mindful to be very much a part of a close community and to contribute as much as possible to the overall community vision rather than focus solely on commercial interests.

The Bargara Streetscape Project

On one occasion in 1998 I saw an elderly woman injure her face when she tripped over the uneven and cracked footpath in See Street. My complaints to the Council had little effect and after speaking and writing to them without much luck I contacted an urban economist who had done some work around the City’s CBD. I arranged for him to come to Bargara and examine the possible re-vamp of the CBD and foreshore and he brought with him a respected Town Planner specialising in coastal townships. They spent a couple of days reviewing the area before presenting some excellent ideas and sketches to a meeting with business owners and Council’s Town Planner at the back of our dive shop. The essence of their finding was to upgrade the whole CBD and focus on pedestrian connectivity with an upgraded and beautified foreshore. The streetscape project had taken the first real step forward.

Through sheer good timing, the State Government announced a funding program for such projects shortly afterwards and Council’s CEO & Planner asked me if they could adopt my project to be used as a Council submission as they didn’t have any suitable projects ready which would suit the criteria.

I agreed and the application was ultimately approved. A couple of years later it was completed and has since proven to be the major catalyst for the social and economic boost for the coastal region.

Election to Council

In March 2000 I was elected for an initial quadrennial term on the Burnett Shire Council which comprised 10 Councillors and a Mayor without electoral divisions.

In March 2004 I was re-elected onto the Council which had by then reduced its number to 8 Councillors and a Mayor and was again undivided.

In March 2008 I was re-elected onto the newly-amalgamated Bundberg Regional Council as one of 10 Councillors + Mayor and assigned the Finance Portfolio. The new Council incorporated 10 Divisions which were determined by the number of electors in each Division being within + or – 10% of each other.

In April 2012 I was again re-elected to the Council under a similar structure however this time I was assigned the ‘Economic Development’ Portfolio which encompasses the conceptulisation and delivery of all Major Projects across the organisation, Airport Operations and Tourism Operations.

In March 2016 I was again re-elected to the Council together with a new Mayor and 5 new Councillors. Similar to the previous term, I was given the ‘Tourism and Regional Growth Portfolio’ which again incorporates Major Projects and Airport Operations.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to represent Division 5 which in general terms, now incorporates the coastal townships of Bargara & Innes Park North. The townships of Innes Park and Coral Cove were excised off as a result of a boundary re-alignment prior to the 2016 election and was carried out to maintain a balance in the electoral quota (+ or – 10%) across the region due to a high population growth within the Bargara township.

Justice of the Peace

In 2002 I was appointed as a Justice of the Peace (Qualified) for the State of Queensland.

The role is rewarding and provides me with additional opportunities to meet with residents and gain their feedback on a number of issues.

Anyone requiring JP services and who is unable to travel can call me on 0488 539 123 to arrange a home visit.

Naturally, these services are provided free of any charge.

To find a list of JPs within the Bundaberg region click here

Citizen of the Year Award

In 2008 I was honoured to be presented with the Bargara Progress Association’s ‘Citizen of the Year’ Award for services to the community.

This was a humbling experience and one that I share with Isobel who deserves equal recognition for all the hard work that she does in so many areas.

Isobel has also been presented with the BPA’s ‘2008 Volunteer of the Year’ Award’

Below are listed some of the positions that I have held on behalf of the two Councils, Civic Groups and also my Marine & Diving Qualifications:

Elected Responsibilities & Acheivements

BRC = Bundaberg Regional Council
BSC = Burnett Shire Council

  • Councillor, Division 5, Bundaberg Regional Council (2016 – present)
  • Councillor, Division 5, Bundaberg Regional Council (2012 – present)
  • Councillor, Division 5, Bundaberg Regional Council (2008 – 2012)
  • Councillor, Burnett Shire Council (2004 – 2008)
  • Councillor, Burnett Shire Council (2000 – 2004)
  • Deputy Chair, Local Disaster Management Group (2018 – present)
  • Certificate of Service Award – 15 Years (LGAQ 2015)
  • Tourism & Regional Growth Portfolio (2016 – present)
  • Economic Development Portfolio, (BRC 2012 – present)
  • Chair, Disaster Economic Recovery Committee (BRC 2013 – 2014)
  • Riverfront Redevelopment Project Control Group (BRC 2015 – present)
  • Finance Portfolio (BRC 2008 – 2012)
  • Director, Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism (BRC 2008 – 2010)
  • Acting Deputy Mayor (BSC 2007)
  • Chair, Economic Development Committee (BSC 2000 – 2004)
  • Chair, Development Assessment Committee (BSC 2000 – 2004)
  • Chair, Development Assessment Review Group (BSC 2000 – 2004)
  • Chair, Legal Matters Review Committee (BSC 2000 – 2004)
  • Director, Bundaberg & Dist. Tourism/Development Board (2000 – 2012)
  • Planning & Development Committee (BRC 2008- present)
  • Digital Services & Social Media Advisory Group (BRC 2013 – present)
  • Management Review Committee (BSC 2000 – 2004)
  • Finance & Corporate Support Committee (BSC 2000 – 2004)
  • Environment & Community Infrastructure Committee. (BSC 2000 – 2004)
  • Engineering Operations Committee (BSC 2000 – 2004)
  • ANZAC Day Commmittee (BSC 2003 – 2008)
  • Tourism Industry Advisory Committee (BSC 1997 – 2005)
  • Bundaberg Crime Stoppers Committee (2004 – 2009)
  • Bundaberg PCYC Committee (2004 – 2008)
  • Lady Musgrave Taskforce (2009 – 2015)
  • BRC Audit & Risk Committee (2008 – 2012)
  • BRC Sister Cities Committee (2009 – present)
  • Coral Coast Churches Carols By Candlelight Committee (2009 – 2011)
  • Certificate of Service Award – 10 Years (LGAQ)
  • Statement of Acievement – Queensland Disaster Management Arrangements

Civic Appointments/Memberships

  • Chair, Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism (2008- 2012)
  • Industry Director, Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism (2010 – 2012)
  • 2007 Citizen of the Year Award, (BPA)
  • President, Coral Coast Chamber of Commerce & Tourism (1997 – 2012)
  • Honorary Life Member, C. C. Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
  • President, Bargara Remembers Inc. (Commemorations Committee)
  • Vice President, YMCA Bundaberg (2011)
  • Initiator, Bargara Streetscape Project (1998)
  • Founder & Chair, Bargara ANZAC Day Committee (1997 – present)
  • Coordinator, Bargara ANZAC Day Dawn Service (1997 – present)
  • Coordinator, Regional ANZAC Day Services Flypasts (1997 – present)
  • Administrator, Innes Park & Coral Cove Facebookers
  • Administraor, Business @ Innes Park & Coral Cove Facebookers
  • Administrator, Elliott Heads Facebookers
  • Administrator, Businesss @ Elliott Heads Facebookers
  • Administrator, Childer Facebookers
  • Administrator, Gin Gin Lake Monduran Facebookers
  • Chair, Coral Coast Events (2002 – 2012)
  • Patron, National Servicemen’s Association of Australia (2009 – 2011)
  • Patron, Bargara District Little Athletics Centre (2009 – present)
  • Member, C14 Qld. Tourism Chairs Committee (2009 – 2012)
  • Initiator / Chair Turtle Rockpool Committee
  • Justice of the Peace (Qual) (2002 – present)
  • Coordinator, CABE Charity Golf Days
  • Coordinator, Tony Leckie Memorial Golf Classic
  • Member, Burnett Local Marine Advisory Committe (2008 – 2012)
  • Founder & Chair, Coral Coast Turtle Festival
  • Coordinator, Coastal Aerial Photography Project
  • Coordinator, WIN TV ‘Destinations” programme
  • Editor, ‘Coral Coast Destination Guide’
  • Coordinator, 2006 Beef Australia Awards of Excellence, Bundaberg
  • Honorary Member, Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club (2008/09)
  • Voting Member, YMCA, Bundaberg (2009 – present)
  • Member, Money’s Creek Project Committee (2009 – 2010)
  • Bargara Community Bank Steering Committee (2009 – 2011)
  • Member, Bargara Triathlon Club (2009 – 2011)
  • Member, Bargara Progress Association (2015 – present)

Diving/Marine/Tourism/Other Qualifications & Experience

  • Open Water Diver
  • Gold Diver
  • Platinum Diver
  • Dive Master
  • Assistant Dive Instructor (1979)
  • Open Water Dive Instructor
  • MedDive Instructor
  • First Aid Instructor
  • DiveCon Instructor
  • Gold Instructor
  • Platinum Instructor
  • Instructor Trainer
  • Instructor Examiner
  • Instructor Certifier
  • Pro 5000 Diver (6,000+ logged dives)
  • Oxygen Therapy/Resuscitation Instructor
  • Qld Radio Operators Licence
  • ADAS Level 1 Commercial Diver
  • Qld Open Coxswains Certificate (Perpetual)
  • Owner/ Operator – Bargara Beach Dive & Leisure
  • Owner/Operator – Dive Charter Boat ‘Narcosis
  • Tour Coordinator – 1996/97/98 Vanuatu-‘President Coolidge’ Dive Tours
  • Co-ordinator – Bargara Tandum Skydiving
  • Operator – Bargara Parasailing
  • Responsible Service of Alcohol (Cert. II)

Hosted by Edge Online