Allen Winter

Community relations leader returns from WA to grow industry

EXPANDING the relationship between industry and the community is the major focus of the Gladstone Industry Leadership Group's new chief Patrick Hastings.

Mr Hastings takes over from current CEO Kurt Heidecker, whose last day in the role is tomorrow.

No stranger to Gladstone, Mr Hastings worked for Queensland Gas Corporation for three years before taking on a community relations role with Bechtel in Gladstone.

This position led to him moving with Bechtel to Western Australia where he worked in a similar role on Chevron's Wheatstone LNG plant construction project.

"Gladstone makes me come back," he said.

"I have a brother and his family and two cousins living here, and I really enjoyed my time here previously, so I'm very pleased to be able to come back."

Of his new role, Mr Hastings said the prospect of working closely with the general managers of seven major industrial players in Gladstone is an exciting one for him.

"It's extraordinary watching the way these people - all of whom are high calibre - work and think. It's a huge opportunity."

He has great praise for the forward thinking nature of GILG, saying it is rare to see industries from a number of different sectors working close together to tackle problems on a collective basis.

"The fact that GILG exists is a real testament to the way industry operates in Gladstone," he said.

"I can see GILG is able to offer the ability to tackle many issues collaboratively, particularly when it comes to environmental issues.

"From a community point of view, we have the ability to be able to work on community issues together, which helps produce good outcomes.

"I offer the point of reference to share with industries and the community. I see my role is a double one - internally to the industries and interaction with the community on behalf of those industries.

"The biggest challenge is to make sure we can bring the community along for the ride. When people in the community turn around and say there isn't an issue we'll have the job done. I see us supporting each other."

Mr Hastings had an interesting introduction to community interaction. After attending a school run by Jesuit priests, he was awarded a scholarship which involved working in different places around the world on community-based projects. That experience was followed by work with a not-for-profit organisation looking after indigenous communities in Cape York.

"These experiences have given me a great interest in community relations," he said.



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