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Job satisfaction and rural lifestyle a hit with Somerset team

Driving to the city for work every day was not the life Esk resident Gavin Niethe wanted.

Published: 30th November 2022


DRIVING to the city for work every day was not the life Esk resident Gavin Niethe wanted.

At just 20 years old he knew his heart was in the country and that is how his career as a tractor slasher operator with Somerset Regional Council started.

Fast forward 35 years and Mr Niethe said he wouldn’t change it for the world.

“I love my slashing job, I really do and I love the area,” Mr Niethe said.

“I’ve always loved machinery and used to work on farms driving tractors but then after I started working as a builder’s labourer in the city, I knew I had to come home.”

Mr Niethe was one of 17 council employees recognised for their long service during a celebration service at Esk in November.

Together they have clocked up 320 years of service.

For Mr Niethe clocking up 35 years of service hasn’t been hard.

“The lifestyle out here (in Somerset) compared to the city, is no comparison,” he said.  

“During the day I can see so much wildlife while slashing out on the roads. It’s so nice to see.

“There’s always deer around and kangaroos, wallabies, you name it and then on weekends I can go fishing or hunting.”

He still finds the role equally challenging as it is rewarding.

“There’s so much traffic on the roads these days and you have to be really careful – on the ball the whole time,” Mr Niethe said.

“You’re constantly watching out for cars and watching where you’re going.

“Overall, it’s been really good. I like doing my thing. Slashing makes a big difference with visibility and makes it safer for road users.”

Team members recognised for their long service in 2022 include Caroline Smith, Melanie Maeseele, Stuart Gardner, Mark Ballin, Trent Herbst and Michael Kinion for 10 years, Lauren Thorogood and Gary Barton for 15 years, Shane Teske, Kay Wicks and Melissa Wolff for 20 years, Geoffrey Ratcliffe, Sherryl Kuhn and Jim Pratten for 25 years, Ken Parcell and Gary Eastell for 30 years and Gavin Niethe for 35 years.

Somerset Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Johnson, congratulated the team members for their long service and contribution to council and the community.

“Each employee is a valued member of Team Somerset and has a high level of dedication and commitment and I recognise and thank them for their contribution,” Mr Johnson said.


Long service: Somerset team members recognised for their long service in 2022. Together they have amassed 320 years of service.



Long Service1: Gavin Niethe has clocked up 35 years of service at Somerset Regional Council and enjoys his role as a tractor slasher operator.





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