Mr Kerr, who started in the role on the 12 May, has been involved in economic development in regional New South Wales and Queensland for around 20 years.

He joins Wakool Shire Council after seven years in Central Queensland, working around the Gladstone, Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast area.

Prior to his work in Queensland, Mr Kerr spent nine years at Bland Shire Council in West Wyalong as Economic Development Manager.

Mr Kerr said he was looking forward to working on a range of economic development opportunities throughout the Shire.

“Having worked extensively across regional areas, it is important to understand what drives regional and rural areas,” he said.

“Initially my focus will be around two sectors of our economy – agriculture and tourism, and the potential links between the two. This also includes the value adding of our agriculture – the Red Gum Food Group is a great example of this.

“Having a vibrant retail sector is also vital for regional communities as well as supporting tourism, so I’ll also be focusing on revitalising our town centres. Improving broadband and mobile phone coverage is also important.”

Mr Kerr also plans to engage with a number of regional bodies including the Murray Regional Tourism Board and Regional Development Australia NSW Murray Committee.

Wakool Shire Council General Manager Bruce Graham welcomed Mr Kerr to Council and said developing an updated Economic Development Strategy for the Shire is also a priority.

“One of Gary’s initial tasks during the next six months will be updating Council’s current Economic Development Strategy, which will involve extensive consultation with the local community and businesses,” Mr Graham said.

“Council is looking forward to the new initiatives that will emerge from this updated strategy and the economic direction it will take the Shire now and into the future.”