“THIS too shall pass” is Debbie McDonald’s stoic attitude to the challenges thrown at the ports sector by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Debbie recently clocked up forty years of service to the Port of Mackay, now part of North Queensland Bulk Ports.

The pandemic meant a large celebration was impossible, however colleagues still ensured her milestone was recognised via many congratulatory calls. 

NQBP chief executive Nicolas Fertin led the praise for the loyal staff member.

“Debbie has played a part in many large changes in the business over the years and she is a much-respected member of the NQBP team as it is today,” Mr Fertin said. 


“We look forward to eventually celebrating this milestone with her in person, 40 years is a massive commitment to the business.”

Debbie began life in finance as a 19-year-old with the then Mackay Harbour Board and a key project with which she was passionately involved was development of the grain terminal. 

Debbie says it’s the range of projects which brings her the most enjoyment out of her work.

“The diverse range of projects that I could be working on any given day and the people are very special,” Debbie said. 

According to NQBP, despite the global impacts of coronavirus they continue to fulfil their valuable work with the port essential for the local mining and agricultural sectors.

Debbie McDonald pictured in 1991. Note the latest in computer technology. Credit: NQBP

Operational staff are still fulfilling essential roles under adapted circumstances.

Debbie says she has two phrases which help keep her upbeat during these troubled times.

“I repeat to myself my two favourite sayings: ‘Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans’ and ‘This too shall pass’,” Debbie said. 

Mr Fertin also thanked NQBP stakeholders for their support for the employees during pandemic.

“This is a challenging time for everyone but the professionalism and compassion that our stakeholders continue to display is helping to ensure the ongoing health of our workforce and our business,” he said.