Meet the new council chief who's in love with Gympie
GYMPIE region's future is looking bright with the recent appointment of a new Tourism and Economic Development manager at Gympie Regional Council.
Lynne Banford heads up the department which now also has a new name, Gympie Futures.
Ms Banford is more than qualified to spearhead the future drive, having previously worked as a director of tourism on the Sunshine and Fraser Coasts with Events Queensland.
"I know a lot about the Gympie region. I've always loved the region. We've got a broad range of tourism attractions and the things you can do are amazing. Other regions are using it for their ends. I want Gympie to own it,” she said.
Originally from England, Ms Banford has worked for three years in the education department, transitioning teenagers into the workforce and working with employers to establish education pathways for students.
She then moved to New Zealand and worked for the government for five years, organising major events such as The America's Cup and APEC summit.
"People might not realise it, but these positions both have economic development at their core,” she said.
Thirteen years ago she immigrated to Australia and started working for Tourism Qld before gaining the position with the Gympie council last October.
She said so far she has really enjoyed getting to know the local people and finding the emotional benefits of living or visiting the Gympie area.
"I want to find out what we really stand for as a region,” she said.
To do this, she has been working with more than 1000 people to find out what they think Gympie's "brand story” should be.
"I've been talking with everyone.
"What has made me smile is we were innovative before that word came up, before people began using the word, because we had to be.
"The brand story is to encourage a more unified pride in who we are, what we stand for, where we're going,” she said.
She then wants to use that to drive policy in the future and to make financial and commercial plans that benefit both the community and the business sectors.
"This is not just about council,” she said.
"We've got so much potential. I want to be there when we reach it.”