Councillors

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Councillor profiles

The Mayor and ten councillors listed below are the elected members representing the ten divisions that comprise the Bundaberg Region.

Bundaberg Regional Council divisional boundary map can be found on the Electoral Commission Queensland site

Bundaberg Regional Council Elected Representatives

 

Cr Helen Blackburn - Mayor

Mayor Helen Blackburn

Phone: 1300 883 699

Email: helen.blackburn@bundaberg.qld.gov.au

Helen is Mayor of the Bundaberg Region and was born and raised in Bundaberg.

She attended Central State School and Bundaberg State High School and worked at some iconic local places from tomato picking at Winfield to the Café Royale and Marell Engineering.

Helen left Bundaberg to join the Army and spent four years as a soldier.

After starting a family Helen moved back to Bundaberg, working at Austchilli and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks before commencing with CQU.

She worked in community-based organisations such as Bundaberg Area Sexual Assault Service, Lifeline and Bundaberg Area Youth Service before going on to own a small business and becoming an awarded business leader.

Her achievements include Diplomas in Counselling, Psychotherapy and later Business Administration and Project Management and a Company Directors course.

She served as Division 4 representative on Bundaberg Regional Council between 2016 and 2020, the only Councillor to hold two portfolios, those of Governance and Sport and Recreation.

She also chaired the CBD revitalisation consumer reference group and was instrumental in forming the trader group which has now transformed in the Love Bundy program

Helen is an active member of her community having served on Rotary and various management committees of community-based and charity organisations and being a patron for the Small Bore Rifle Club and Defence Veteran Drop-in Centre.

Passionate about her role as Mayor she believes “we all have something to offer and that we need to be willing to do the offering”.

Her focus is the region’s economic health and aims to see the Bundaberg Region become a regional capital by working with all levels of government to deliver sustainable, long term solutions to foster growth for the region in all sectors.

Register of Interests - Cr Helen Blackburn

 

Cr Jason Bartels - Division 1

Cr  Jason Bartels

Phone: 0438 681 189

Email: jason.bartels@bundaberg.qld.gov.au

Division 1 Map

Jason is Councillor for Division 1 which covers Winfield, Yandaran, Avondale, Moore Park Beach, North Bundaberg, Sharon and Burnett Downs.

Jason lives at Burnett Downs with his wife in their family home where they have raised their three children, all now young adults. Jason enjoys spending time with his family and they all enjoy water skiing, fishing, bike riding and appreciating all that this beautiful region has to offer.

Prior to being elected to Council, Jason had a very diverse background, which has allowed him to gain invaluable experiences in life. Jason is a trade qualified Plumber, Drainer & Gasfitter and he and his wife ran their own successful plumbing business.

In 2008 Jason was successfully elected as a Councillor for the Maranoa Regional Council. He then sold his plumbing business and devoted the next four years to Council.

Jason's family has owned property in the Bundaberg region for many years and it has always been their preferred holiday destination, so when an opportunity became available in 2012 to relocate permanently to the Bundaberg region they jumped at the chance.

In the four years from 2012, Jason had been employed as the Plumbing Coordinator with Bundaberg Regional Council and in this time he realised that his skill set was better suited to making the strategic changes Council needed and decided to nominate for a Councillor position. 

Protecting the lifestyle and liveability of the region is one of Jason's main goals and he is determined to ensure that our region remains an attractive and affordable area in which to live.

Register of Interests - Cr Jason Bartels 

 

Cr Bill Trevor OAM - Division 2

Cr Bill Trevor

Phone: 0429 873 103

Email: william.trevor@bundaberg.qld.gov.au

Division 2 Map

Bill has a long and meritorious association with local government in Queensland having served initially as a Councillor with the former Isis Shire Council prior to becoming Mayor in 1993 until amalgamation in 2008. 

Bill brings a wealth of knowledge to Bundaberg Regional Council.  

Bill comes from a sugar cane farming background in the Childers area and stamped his leadership credential at an early age being high school captain and a champion athlete. 

Community service has always been a strong motivator for Bill and service in Apex was simply a precursor to the many community roles he undertook. Bill was founding President of the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils (WBBROC), Wide Bay Burnett Area Consultative Committee (ACC) Chair for 14 years and is the current Wide Bay Burnett Chair of Regional Development Australia (RDA) after being appointed in 2014. He is also a former director of Isis Central Sugar Mill and Member of the Bundaberg District Health Council. 

In 2009 Bill was awarded an OAM for his service to the Childers community and the Wide Bay Region. He is also a Life Member of Apex which is an award that holds special significance for him. 

Bill has always prided himself on being able to "see outside the box" and to recognise opportunity. 

He endeavours to bring this perceptive side of his abilities to the Bundaberg region through his seat on Council and to help develop strategies, create opportunities and foster job creation to advance the great potential of the Bundaberg region. He has a strong focus on ensuring ratepayer funds are distributed fairly but efficiently and effectively. 

Councillor Isis Shire Council 1985 - 1993 

Mayor Isis Shire Council 1993 – 2008

Register of Interests - Cr Bill Trevor

 

Cr Deborah Keslake - Division 3 

Cr Deb Keslake

Phone: 0408 145 885

Email: deb.keslake@bundaberg.qld.gov.au

Division 3 Map

Register of Interests - Cr Deb Keslake

 

Cr Tracey McPhee, Deputy Mayor - Division 4

Councillor tracey mcphee headshot

Phone: 0437 896 592

Email: tracey.mcphee@bundaberg.qld.gov.au

Division 4 Map

Tracey is well-known as the owner operator of local award-winning café, Alowishus Delicious.

Along with her husband Michael and their children Ally and Gabriel, Tracey has lived in Division 4 for the past 8 years.

Through a strong belief in the future of the Bundaberg Region and the value of small business, both as a community service and as a vehicle for job creation, Alowishus has expanded to three locations over the past several years.

This expansion has resulted in recognition including Chamber of Commerce ‘Business of the Year’, Country Wide ‘Business of the Year’ and Australia Day ‘Community Spirit Award”.

Tracey has built her reputation on hard work, leadership and community focus. As a passionate community minded business woman Tracey has been involved in employment programs, high school mentoring and buy local campaign #lovebundy and in her personal time she serves on the Bundaberg Regional Youth Hub, St Joseph’s Catholic primary school board and volunteers for numerous local organisations and charities.

As a councillor Tracey aims to represent the Bundaberg Region and Division 4 by focusing on prosperity for both business and residents. She has special interest in reducing youth unemployment by fostering relationships between students and industry, providing career pathways and increasing employability of students on graduation.

Inspired by her late father, Steve Ward, who was awarded a Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship for his dedication to community service, Tracey proudly carries the family commitment to the local community.

Register of Interests - Cr Tracey McPhee

 

Cr Larine Statham-Blair - Division 5

Cr Laurine Statham-Blair

Phone: 0497 912 403

Email: larine.statham-blair@bundaberg.qld.gov.au

Division 5 Map

Elected to represent Division 5 (Bargara and Innes Park North) in March 2024, Larine has called the Bundaberg Region home on-and-off since the age of 16, and is proud to be raising her two young sons here with her husband, Dr Charles Blair. 

After graduating from Kepnock State High School, she moved to Brisbane to study a Bachelor of Journalism. Larine started her career as a newspaper reporter in Roma and Bundaberg, where her rounds included Local Government, agriculture and the Courts. 

Going on to work as a correspondent for Australian Associated Press (AAP), both around the country and overseas, Larine covered some of the biggest news events of the decade. In 2010, she was named AAP Reporter of the Year. 

Larine worked as a senior media and policy advisor in the Queensland and Federal Parliaments, including three years for the Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade. She actively assisted local politicians, businesses, and industries to promote Bundaberg and attract investment to the region, including bringing various stakeholders together to create the HMAS Tobruk Military Dive Wreck.

Larine volunteered as the community representative on Council's Iconic Events Advisory Commitee, and served as a Board Director of Bundaberg Tourism for several years. She is an alumni of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and Governance Institute of Australia. 

In 2020, Larine co-founded the quarterly local lifestyle publication, Crush Magazine, to shine a positive light on the Bundaberg Region. Together, Larine and her husband established Kaleidoscope Skin Cancer Clinic, which they sold in mid 2024.

Larine is a keen scuba diver, who loves camping, drawing, painting, reading and gardening. Her pride and joy is a 1964 EH Holden Wagon that she lovingly restored with her late father.

Register of Interests - Cr Larine Statham-Blair

 

Cr Carmen McEneany - Division 6

Cr Carmen McEneany

Phone: 0438 103 058

Email: carmen.mceneany@bundaberg.qld.gov.au

Division 6 Map

Carmen is Councillor for Division 6 which covers Elliott Heads, Riverview, Calavos, Woongarra, Coral Cove, Innes Park, Bargara Headlands, Qunaba, Rubyanna, Mon Repos, Burnett Heads and the Port.

Carmen is a dedicated community advocate with a passion for making a difference and is also a devoted mother to three teenagers.

Locally she is recognised in her roles as a Thermomix Team Leader and Coordinator for Boomerang Bags Bundaberg.

Known for her community-minded approach, she tirelessly works to support her town by organising meal assistance during the floods and advocating for local initiatives such as successfully petitioning for traffic signals and the reduction of learner's license fees.

With the motto of LLL (Listen, Learn, Liaise) Carmen is now inspired to extend her impact by joining Council, aiming to represent her community's needs at a higher level.

Hosting monthly community consultation desks in different locations each month will be her favourite way to be out and about and have the opportunity to meet as many constituents as possible.

As a registered JP she will make herself available for signing documents.

Register of Interests - Cr Carmen McEneany

 

Cr Gary Kirk - Division 7

Councillor Gary Kirk

Phone: 0458 793 411

Email: gary.kirk@bundaberg.qld.gov.au

Division 7 Map

Gary is a first term Councillor for Division 7, which covers Norville, Svensson Heights, Kensington, Branyan(Parklands), Kentucky Bluegrass and parts of Thabeban. Gary and his wife Elaine have two children and five grandchildren and have lived in Bundaberg since 1992.

Gary’s work career as Principal of Norville State School (1992- 2009), as Chairperson/Board member of the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Board (2012-2017) and as a small business owner of Baffle Retreat BnB (2010-2019), has enabled him to build a range of networks and positive relationships in the Bundaberg Region.

His community involvement has been varied and has included being a Rotarian (1992-2019), a volunteer and Board member of the Partners in Care Together Foundation (Wide Bay Hospital’s Foundation), a workshop facilitator for the Roadsafety Youth Awareness Program and an Ambassadorial Speaker of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

Gary believes he has the ability, the motivation and the attitudes to be an effective Councillor and to be able to “Make a Difference” in the Bundaberg Region...a region that is a great place to live...to work...to play and...to invest.

Register of Interests - Cr Gary Kirk

 

Cr Steve Cooper - Division 8 

Cr Steve Cooper

Phone: 0428 040 719

Email: steve.cooper@bundaberg.qld.gov.au 

Division 8 Map

Steve is Councillor for Division 8.

Steve has been a resident of Bundaberg for over 40 years and a resident of Division 8 for 15 years. Steve is well known for his long association with the hardware business having previously operated an outlet in Bundaberg for 25 years.

He has also been actively involved in various branches of local Rotary, with his most notable achievement as a Group Study Exchange Leader to Canada and America. He took a team of young local professionals to experience similar professions and culture in these countries. Steve was also awarded the highest recognition available to a Rotarian, a Paul Harris Fellowship Award for exemplary service to Rotary.

His long and valued service with the Rotary organisation has provided him with a great level of community connectivity and the opportunity to engage with people from all backgrounds, not only in the Bundaberg Region but on a broader national and international level.

He is well credentialled to serve his community as a strong and knowledgeable representative for his division and as a member of a Council team dedicated to the growth and prosperity of the Bundaberg Region.

Steve truly believes that the experience he has gained from his achievements in Rotary, along with his determination to serve has provided him with the tools to be an informed advocate around the Council table.

Register of Interests - Cr Steve Cooper 

 

Cr May Mitchell - Division 9

Cr May Mitchell

Phone: 0437 885 384

Email: may.mitchell@bundaberg.qld.gov.au

Division 9 Map

May moved to Bundaberg in 1994.   May was first elected to Council in 2020, and lives in the division she represents.

May’s extensive local government experience commenced in 1982, holding positions at Mt Isa City Council, Thuringowa City Council (Townsville), Bundaberg City Council and Bundaberg Regional Council where, up until being elected in 2020, May held a senior role in Council’s revenue area.  For the first term 2020-2024 May held the Health – Compliance and Enforcement portfolio and now holds the Governance and Integrity portfolio and is a member of Council’s Audit and Risk Committee.

As an elected member of Council, May serves the local community and surrounding areas as a proactive representative with a passion to improve the lifestyle and liveability of the Bundaberg Region.

May is a staunch supporter of further developing outdoor and recreational opportunities for families and residents across the region. As a Council representative who will always listen to the concerns of residents and give residents a voice, May is committed to working with her fellow Councillors and Council staff to achieve plentiful and well-designed outdoor spaces, pathways and bikeways.

As a Councillor who is well aware of the potential of the Bundaberg Region, May welcomes initiatives that will continue to drive a resilient local economy. This can be achieved where agriculture, manufacturing, residential and commercial development and tourism opportunities are embraced yet complement one another.

She is motivated to encouraging a diverse range of industries to see Bundaberg or its regions as the location in which they want to establish and invest.

May is a member of Coral Isle Cyclists Inc. She has also held positions in Neighbourhood Watch, been a Toastmasters member and a non-executive board member of Community Lifestyle Support Ltd (Disability and Community Services).

Register of Interests - Cr May Mitchell

 

Cr John Learmonth - Division 10

Cr John Learmonth

Phone: 0438 546 297

Email: john.learmonth@bundaberg.qld.gov.au

Division 10 Map

Local businessman John Learmonth is in his third term as Councillor for Division 10, after first taking office following a bi-election in 2018.

He’s born and raised in Bundaberg, having attended both Walkervale State and Bundaberg State High Schools. After finishing high school, John completed a Fitter and Turner Apprenticeship at Qunaba Sugar Mill, before working as a tradesman at Massey Ferguson Industries and Dave Melville Engineering.

Being born into a well-known retail grocery family, John had the calling and along with brother Graeme took on and developed “Olsen’s Corner” to the thriving centre it is today, before retiring in 2014. John’s late mother, Joy, was daughter of the original Olsen family who established the corner in 1935.

He counts the funding to build the long-awaited Walkervale State School student drop off zone and car park as a major achievement throughout his first term on Council.

John has continued his representation for the region and Division 10.

He considers the huge makeover of the popular Boreham Park, which attracts families from throughout the region, as one of the most significant projects delivered in the division during his tenure.

The ongoing maintenance of roads, drainage, footpaths and general resident requests have kept John busy as well as his portfolio representation.

Currently holding the Arts, Heritage and Asset Management portfolio, John and partner Gillan have been regular attendees and supporters at the many events in the large arts community in Bundaberg.

John has two children, Candice and Kam and two grandchildren and when not attending the long list of Council events, can be found sailing on a Saturday afternoon.

A life member and commodore of the Bundaberg Sailing Club, John has been sailing since he was 10 and competitively racing in regattas and representing Australia in World Championships, winning several major events.

In his role he is a regular attendee to the local Neighbourhood Watch meetings, School P & C meetings and a variety of many community functions.

John is proud of his role as Patron for the Defence Drop In Zone and Bundaberg TPI Association.

Register of Interests - Cr John Learmonth

 

Contact us

Address: 190 Bourbong Street
Bundaberg QLD 4670. Australia.

Telephone: 1300 883 699