Member of the Week - Steve de Gunst
Describing himself as a family man, Steve is one of Inverell Hospital’s staunchest advocates. Seeing the facility upgraded for his community is the primary reason Steve became a National in 2008 – as our Party allows grassroot members to have a voice in the way no other allows – and fight for change from the inside.
The Nationals were a natural fit for Steve, who despite spending most of his career overseas or interstate, has always called the country home. Born and bred in Inverell, Steve graduated from high school and went on to study a Bachelor of Engineering (Surveying) at the University of New South Wales. After graduating in 1993, Steve left for Hong Kong where he worked for two years on the Hong Kong International Airport. Founding his own business Jars Land Surveyors, Steve worked in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China for the next eight years focusing on major infrastructure projects and several high-rise buildings. His career also took him to Saudi Arabia to work on refurbishments to the holy site of Mecca, and India to work on Mumbai Airport. Returning home in 2011, Steve headed North to Mackay, spending 28 months on the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal and the Hay Point Coal Terminal Jetty – a $3 billion project and part of Queensland’s largest coal export facility, able to handle 129 million tonnes of coal per year.
With his eldest daughter about to start high school, Steve decided the time was right to move back to Inverell and settle with his wife Angela – who originally hails from Northern Wales – and his two other children Matthew(13) and “Captain” William (11). His wife is a teacher at Holy Trinity with Steve now working on local government projects and farming – a welcome change from the high octane construction world. He is highly involved in the local cricket scene, currently President of the Inverell Cricket Association and Junior Cricket Association.
Steve believes the Nationals are vital for the well-being of the regions and, without the Party, the regions would be grossly neglected. He also finds that interest in our Party is strong and that more people would join in the 40-60 age group if they weren’t so busy working and raising children. By keeping the Nats presence strong at local events he believes more people will act on their personal interests. The success of the recent Conference as social event as well as a political event is another aspect he thinks is key to growing the membership.
Steve brings his construction mentality to his lobbying for Inverell Hospital and regional health. After the father of a family friend couldn’t get adequate treatment locally, getting the service upgraded to better meet the needs of his community is Steve’s passion. Passion, he says, is how you ultimately get things done.