GYMPIE'S MOST INFLUENTIAL: Who will make the list in 2018?
GYMPIE'S MOST INFLUENTIAL: Who will make the list in 2018?

POWER 30: Sneak peak into Gympie's most influential #27-25


A DRIVING force in the Queensland agricultural industry, Gympie region grazier Ivan Naggs is one of the first ports of call for rural land holders in the state.

For more than a decade the Neusa Vale grazier, who runs a 142ha (350 acre) farm and breeds stud cattle, has been in an instrumental position in AgForce Queensland.

He is one of four south east Queensland elected executives for the organisation whose 5900 members' combined land makes up 60 per cent of private Queensland land.

Mr Naggs is the vessel these thousands of members use to dictate change in the rural industry, often fielding numerous phone calls each day from state members.

NUMBER 27 IN THE POWER 30: Ivan Naggs takes a broader view than his own farm.
NUMBER 27 IN THE POWER 30: Ivan Naggs takes a broader view than his own farm. Renee Albrecht

The list of policy areas covered by AgForce is extensive and encompasses local and state government - and as a member of the National Farmers' Federation, AgForce members also have a national voice and are often called in to advise on government policy.

Mr Naggs has been heavily involved in high-impact wins in the state's rural industry, including the relaxation of stamp duties on succession ownership of farms, co-ordinating the harmonisation of chemical labels and establishing cluster fencing in the wool industry.

He is currently lobbying for more funding to research the giant rat's tail grass problem.

Mr Naggs has also been prolific in his role in the Queensland Dog Offensive Group and is often the voice media approach for comment in the ongoing debate to control the wild dog problem.

Mr Naggs was previously the northern Australia regional manager for global agriculture leader Bayer.


SHANE Handy has been the driving force behind the Rainbow Beach Surf Lifesaving Club for more than a decade.

"If lifesaving wasn't there, Rainbow wouldn't be open,” he says.

With that, Mr Handy has been trying to grow the numbers of the club which currently has about 85 active senior members and 70 nippers.

As an inaugural nipper in the 1980s, Mr Handy was club captain for about eight years and today is the president.

#26 Shane Handy.
#26 Shane Handy. Renee Albrecht

He almost single-handedly pushed for the recent upgrade to the club building which has put Rainbow Beach on par with clubs on the Sunshine Coast and helped boost membership.

Mr Handy's influence extends beyond Rainbow Beach, though.

He is the Sunshine Coast branch district supervisor, which incorporates Rainbow Beach, Noosa (which has 1817 members), Sunshine Beach (which has 564 members), Coolum Beach (which has 775 members) and Marcoola (which has 413 members).

As district supervisor, he ensures compliance at clubs and inspects the quality of service for all volunteer lifesaving patrols.

It was through his role as supervisor, seeing the facilities at the Sunshine Coast and Noosa lifesaving clubs, that he pushed for the upgrade at Rainbow.

It is not just in lifesaving that Mr Handy carries a leadership role; he has been Handy Hire's branch manager for about six years.

Despite sharing the same last name, Mr Handy does not own the business.

He leads the eight-person team of the Gympie branch of the business.

Handy Hire has a diversity of machines from lawn mowers to 30-tonne rollers which have been used on the 2016 stage of the Cooroy to Curra Bruce Highway Bypass.

It is through his various roles that Mr Handy earns his place on the list of the Gympie region's 30 most influential people.


DARREN Burns is not only the face of Gympie rugby league, he is its driving force.

After a career in the national rugby league that saw him play for the Brisbane Broncos, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Western Suburbs Magpies and the Sydney Roosters, Darren has provided a stable platform of motivation and inspiration to Gympie's aspiring rugby league players in a time where the game, at a regional level is struggling.

He has mandated the consistent presence of rugby league at a school level, which has seen a resurgence of young players in the local junior ranks.

#25 Darren Burns.
#25 Darren Burns. Renee Albrecht

As rugby league grows to feature the anticipated women's competition, Burns has been leading the charge to expand the game in Gympie to include a women's team. A women's game was added to the Devils 20th anniversary celebrations and old boys day at Albert Park in mid-September.

But Darren's influence and mentoring has gone beyond the playing field.

He has worked in conjunction with the Brisbane Broncos to provide education to Gympie region students in everything from domestic violence to healthy eating.

He continues to provide front line leadership as president of the Gympie Devils Rugby League Football Club, stepping up to the plate after the resignation of Gympie rugby league stalwart Jim Bougoure.

It has been Burns' intricate knowledge of league administration that has helped keep the game alive and thriving in a region with a proud rugby league heritage.

It is through his dedication and influence in local sport that Darren Burns has earned a place in Gympie's list of most influential people.

Darren Burns
Darren Burns Renee Albrecht

What do you think about Gympie's Power 30?

SOME could argue money is influence, and in some cases, they would be right.

Others could argue sports stars hold greater influence than, say, artists and charity workers.

Both could be right, or wrong, because that's the subjectiveness of power.

Let's start a conversation.

Email your thoughts to or leave your comment online at     

Gympie Times

Parents forking out almost $4000 on back to school supplies

Premium Content Parents forking out almost $4000 on back to school supplies

New data reveals average costs of $2,715 spent for prep students, $3,224 in primary...

VOTE NOW: Crown the Best Cafe in Gympie

Premium Content VOTE NOW: Crown the Best Cafe in Gympie

Help Matt Preston's search for the best cafe in Gympie

Man cries as he is jailed for Sunshine Plaza stabbing

Premium Content Man cries as he is jailed for Sunshine Plaza stabbing

A 21-year-old man cried as he learned he would be going to jail for stabbing a...