INCOMING: New Southern Downs Regional Council CEO David Burges is sworn in this morning.
INCOMING: New Southern Downs Regional Council CEO David Burges is sworn in this morning.

New council CEO reveals vision, hopes and priorities

OPENNESS, transparency and forging strong community ties.

That's what the newest Southern Downs Regional Council CEO has promised, at his swearing in this morning.

David Burges will step into the leadership role, following the sudden departure of predecessor David Keenan in April.

Mr Burges has 26 years' experience in local government, including the position of Quilpie Shire Council CEO, which he held for the past nine years.

Mr Burges said he would be committed to a "grassroots" approach to leadership.

"I have a very collaborative style, an open and transparent style. There's nothing to hide," he said.

"I love working with people. I did a tour around this morning and that initial contact was great."

Born in the region, Burges said his connection would be more than superficial, as he worked to prioritise changing council's reputation.

"There's some work that needs doing in the organisation. There's some cultural issues that need to be addressed, some lingering concerns," he said.

"There are some community concerns. I was born and bred in Stanthorpe and I've worked in amalgamated councils so I know there can be that disconnect between the major communities of one council area."

The strong position comes following widespread reports of council bullying during the previous council's term.

Mr Burges also cited his desire to work with the business community, especially on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, and harness the region's "enormous potential" for growth.

"This is a wonderful region," Mr Burges said.

"I firmly believe all the regions that surround SEQ (Southeast Queensland) have a great opportunity to get people out of the major centres and come to places like Warwick, Stanthorpe, The Scenic Rim for the lifestyle and job security."

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi previously said he was eager to bring Mr Burges' and his experience on-board.

"David has a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the legislative, human resource, community, and economic challenges and opportunities facing Queensland councils, particularly regional and rural councils," Cr Pennisi said.

"Our recruitment process was comprehensive and thorough, and I would like to thank all the impressive applicants for their interest in working with our council and community."



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