The USU is proud when members “hit milestones” in their careers like 10, 20, 30, 40 years’ service. So when one of our members hit 50-years the local official didn’t want to miss recognising it.

Tuncurry local Graeme Wynter has just done that, 50 years as a member and serving his community.

Graeme started working for the than Great Lakes Council (GLC) on 7 March 1974, in the “parks” section so that he could “get his foot in the door”. But Graeme’s passion was in “water and sewer”, which he started not long after as a labourer.

Graeme than exceeded and excelled in the industry and moved up the “ladder” firstly to a “Ganger” or as they are called now “Team Leader”, then to an “Supervisor. This was all prior to “water and sewer” being moved away from GLC in 1997, to form the then “MidCoast Water County Council (MCW)” which served the former GLC, Greater Taree City Council and Gloucester Shire Council areas.

Something Graeme and his counterparts saw as the best outcome for members, staff and communities alike due to a “real focus on Water and Sewer being delivered to all the communities in the area” and a “new start to replace and maintain the infrastructure to a good working condition” something that took a lot of time due to its condition at the time. Shortly after MCW formed, Graeme became “Manager of Construction”.

Following on from this in approximately 2016 through a “restructure” Graeme became known as a Coordinator Construction, which he is still currently known as.

After hundreds of projects, upgrades and advancements “one that comes to mind” is moving away from septic and having sewerage installed and upgrades to Pacific Palms/Smiths Lake area, “and another one was” when Graeme had to participate and give evidence in Sydney for what became known as the “oyster scare” in the local area. We skip forward to 2017, when MCW was dissolved and came back under the banner of council in the newly formed MidCoast Council.

As you can imagine Graeme has done and seen it all in his incredible 50-year stint.

Graeme believes one of his biggest assets to his fellow co-workers and work colleagues is “that when he started back in the early days you did it all, which gave you a lot broader knowledge and skillset compared to now”, which he credits to his ability to progress from a labourer up to Coordinator Construction.

Graeme believes it was a “big advantage” having to do this.

Graeme works at a depot with 100 percent union membership and all the members seem to think the same way about Graeme.

With one member stating “there’s one thing about GW is that he knows his S##t, I don’t think there would be anyone in the organisation that would know more about the network than him – sewer or water, he has a remarkable memory of Who, Where and Why asset were installed and he loves to enlighten you if your facts are wrong. The member than goes on to say “he’ll help anyone if they ask him, he doesn’t tolerate fools lightly so if you’re going to ask him something make sure you understand your subject as he probably designed it, installed it and maintained it before you were born, we often say we should insert a chip in the back of his neck so we can download all the information, he has a broad knowledge of a vast array of topics which he has great pleasure telling you at lunch time round the table gathering….”

Graeme’s also been saying that he’s going to leave for the last 10 years but he’s still there maybe he just loves what he does, maybe he loves the camaraderie. He’s at work before anyone turns up and leaves after most have gone home.

50 years can be said very quickly but 50 years serving the community is something else, what more can we say….except “Congratulations Graeme Wynter”