Regularly, we will feature a member of the HBNC team, giving you a chance to Meet the Neighbours. The goal is to highlight and celebrate the people at the heart of our organisation, who work tirelessly to make the Wide Bay Burnett community a stronger and more resilient one.

This week, we'd like you to meet Deborah Hawes, Youth Assistance Program Officer.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I answer to Deb, Debbie, Deborah and lots of other names people call me. I have a husband of 43 years, but don’t live with him, three beautiful, creative daughters, two fabulous daughters-in-laws, one talented son-in-law and three very clever granddaughters.

I love being in the bush first, but my place by the sea is a close second. Past times include being with my friends, travelling, walking on the beach, yoga and discovering new beer and wines.


What is a quick summary of your professional background?

  • Construction - 30 years
  • Fitness – 8 years
  • Local Government – 8 years
  • Employment Services & Apprenticeships – 2 years
  • SQW Programs – 6 years
  • Toastmasters – 15 years


What drew you to work with HBNC?

A number of positions were advertised after the LIFT tender was successful, that were similar to what I had done. I heard positive feedback from other people I knew that worked there. With my long-term association with NFPs in our area, both as team member and on the board, I believed I would be a good fit. I love my LIFT team, loud and noisy. We are all passionate about what we do.


How do you see your role making a difference in the lives of the community’s most vulnerable?

Youth Assistance Program Officer – one of the roles in LIFT - focusses on young people who are at risk of falling out of school and supporting them find alternative study/employment, and sometimes to remain or return there. Because Hervey Bay has such a low completion rate of high school, I feel that we need to do everything we can to improve this and that is where I believe my role is making a difference.


What’s one thing you hope to see happen or change for our community?

Wouldn’t it be great if all of our young people were proud of their Fraser Coast community – the people they live with genuinely cared for them, had a suitable roof over their heads, sustainable employment, reasonable medical/mental health services and affordable sporting/hobby activities they are all involved in.