Executive leadership team

Mackay Regional Council came into existence after the amalgamation of the former Mackay City Council, Mirani Shire Council and Sarina Shire Council on March 15, 2008.

The previous Mackay City Council amalgamated with the former Pioneer Shire Council and former Mackay City Council on April 8, 1994.

The Pioneer Shire Council was established in 1880, when it was known as the Pioneer Divisional Board. The original Mackay City Council was established in 1869.

Current organisational structure

The current organisational structure aligns council's five departments with Corporate Plan goals and objectives, giving a much clearer focus to council's overall direction.

Council is divided in to five departments:

  • Capital works
  • Community and Client Services
  • Development Services
  • Engineering and Commercial Infrastructure
  • Organisational Services

The councillors' role is to decide the facilities and services for the community and to make local laws to help provide a prosperous, sustainable and vibrant region for residents.

The Executive Leadership Team (ELT)

Scott Owen

Chief Executive Officer

Scott Owen

Joined council > November 28, 2022

CEO Scott Owen is a passionate, enthusiastic, and innovative leader, who brings significant senior executive experience to Mackay Regional Council.

Before joining council, he had more than five years of local government experience in a number of senior executive roles with the largest council in Australia – most recently managing a team of 2000 staff with a budget of more than $900m.

A continual focus point has been around continuous improvement and simplifying council operations to enhance the customer and community experience.

Throughout his career, he has held several senior executive roles leading large diverse teams with significant budgets and commercial operations. He has led significant organisational transformation.

Hailing from Birmingham in the United Kingdom, he credits his 10 years in the British Armed Forces as making him he person he is today, and two operational tours in the Afghanistan conflict for grounding his desire to make life better for people where he can.

Mr Owen holds a postgraduate diploma in strategic leadership, as well as multiple leadership and business administration qualifications.


Capital Works

Director: Jim Carless

Joined council > January 7, 2014
Appointed director > July 29, 2019

Jim studied Landscape Architecture (BBE) and Environmental Horticulture (BAS) and is a Certified Practising Project Director (CPPD) and member of the Australian Institute of Project Management.

He has more than 25 years’ experience in the design, management and construction of developments across a range of public realm and private sectors.

Spending most of his early working life in Cairns and surrounding North Queensland, including the construction of the $40m Cardwell Foreshore Reconstruction, he moved to Mackay in 2014 to manage the Mackay City Centre Revitalisation. Since then Jim and his teams have managed several exciting community projects, such the Dudley Denny City Library, Sugar Bowl Skate Park and the Mackay ARC.

He has spent more than 10 years in local government, previously working for the Cairns Regional Council as well as private practice consultancies in Australia and overseas, spending almost five years with Atkins’ the Middle East and India business.

Jim is married with four children.

His current responsibilities include:

  • Capital Works Delivery
  • Project Management Office
  • Design Services
  • Contract Services
  • Field Services
  • Major Projects
Janine McKay 

Community and Client Services

Director: Janine McKay

Joined council > May 1, 2023

Originally from Victoria, Janine has spent most of her career in Far North and South East Queensland, bringing more than 15 years of senior leadership experience across various Local Government and State Government departments.

With tertiary qualifications in science, public sector management and safety, Janine has led several functions, including natural resource management, customer services, field services and licencing and regulatory functions.

Janine has a long-standing commitment to improving outcomes for the community, embedding an ethos of continuous improvement, striving for agility in government and value for money.

Most weekends Janine and her husband will be out exploring the region’s wonderful natural environments.

Her current responsibilities include:

  • Community Lifestyle
  • Corporate Communications and Marketing
  • Health and Regulatory Services
  • Emergency Management
  • MECC and Events

Development Services

Director: Aletta Nugent

Joined council > January 28, 2019

Aletta has been working in local government at an executive and senior management level for 12 years after starting her career as a solicitor specialising in planning and environmental law.

She holds qualifications in law, science and land use planning.

Aletta has worked in local government in both Western Australia and Queensland, relocating to Mackay from Broome. She was born and raised in regional Queensland and has a strong attachment to North Queensland.

Her current responsibilities include:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Development Engineering
  • Development Assessment
  • Economic Development and Tourism
  • Parks, Environment and Sustainability


Engineering and Commercial Infrastructure

Director: Jason Devitt

Joined council > November 16, 1995
Appointed Director > August 31, 2009

Jason Devitt holds a Bachelor of Engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer of Queensland.

With over 24 years experience in local government, Jason first started his career as an engineer in the water industry. Since then, he has progressed through numerous management positions expanding his field of expertise from water to waste and roads management.

As the Director of Engineering and Commercial Infrastructure, Jason has a passion for delivering quality infrastructure projects that not only encourage regional growth, but also enhance liveability for the wider community.

His current responsibilities include the delivery of water and sewerage services, including infrastructure and treatment, waste services, roads and drainage.  Jason is also responsible in Emergency Management as the Local Disaster Coordinator for the Local Disaster Management Group.

His current responsibilities include:

  • Waste Services
  • Water Network
  • Water Treatment
  • Water and Sewerage Infrastructure Planning
  • Transport & Drainage Infrastructure Planning
  • Civil Operations
  • Asset Management


Organisational Services

Director: Angela Hays

Joined council > November 9, 2015
Appointed director >  January 23, 2023

Angela Hays, who first joined Mackay Regional Council in a management role in 2015, has held senior leadership roles for more than 15 years.

Most of her career before moving into local government was spent in the private sector, predominantly in financial services, as well as some manufacturing and retail.

She spent more than four years as part of council’s management team, including two years as a shared services centre partnership manager before leading Community Lifestyle for another two years. She was the appointed director Community and Client Services in 2020 before being appointed to her current role at the start of 2023.

She has a finance degree and MBA.

Angela made Mackay home in 2014 when she moved here from Sydney with her family (husband and daughter) and loves living here.

Her current responsibilities include:

  • Financial Services
  • Informational Services
  • People and Culture
  • Procurement and Plant
  • Property Services.
  • Shared Services


Executive Officer

David McKendry

Joined council > April, 1992
Appointed executive officer > July 15, 2013

David is a long-term Mackay local, having originally moved north from Rockhampton. With more than 20 years’ experience in local government, David rejoined council in 2002 after an earlier stint and has held the position of Executive Officer since 2013.

He holds qualifications in business, local government and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

As a Mackay resident, David has been involved in a variety of local sporting and other groups, including acting as treasurer for a number.

David is married with one son, and enjoys spending weekends gardening at their property at Erakala.

His current responsibilities include:

  • Coordination of council meeting functions
  • Company secretary for a number of council-controlled entities
  • Secretariat for the Greater Whitsunday Council of Mayors
  • CEO, mayoral and councillor support

Senior Legal Counsel

Anthony Bigby

Joined council > April 1, 2019
Appointed Senior Legal Counsel > January 23, 2023

Anthony is an experienced leader and manager with more than 15 years’ experience in senior leadership roles across multiple business sectors.

He worked in the banking and finance industry for 10 years before switching to a career in law.

After spending more than 20 years in private legal practice, including seven years as an owner and partner in a general practice firm in regional Queensland, Anthony made the switch to local government.

He moved to Mackay in 2019 to take on a leadership role in council’s legal team and he also holds a position on council’s Executive Leadership Team.

Anthony is married and has five children, including three adult children who reside in southeast Queensland and teenage twins who live in Mackay with him.

Away from work, Anthony has been involved in football and enjoys relaxing with family on weekends.

Anthony has degrees in International Business and Law as well as an MBA.

His current responsibilities include:

  • Finance
  • People & Culture
  • Procurement & Plant
  • Governance & Safety
  • Property Services
  • Shared Services Centre
  • Information Services