This month we speak with Scott McLuskey, Senior Development Officer, Planning, City of Prospect.
Scott tells us about his view for future development in Prospect and what key insights he gleaned from the recent LG Professionals Australia National Congress.
Hi Scott, thanks for speaking with us.
You recently attended the National Congress on an LG Professionals SA Scholarship. What were the top 3 things that you learned that will stay with you from the Congress, and how will they affect your work or professional development?
I greatly appreciated the opportunity to attend the National Congress and thank LG Professionals SA again for the scholarship opportunity. There were several things that resonated strongly with me including the concept that our communities are not lacking for information, they are lacking for clarity, and also the concept that we should be creating processes that are designed for intrinsic success and by which failure is actually more difficult. I think there is also a very direct application here in Prospect about the role that local government can play in leading rather than managing change and uncertainty.
What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
I am the Senior Development Officer, Planning at City of Prospect. My role usually incorporates planning assessment, technical advice, compliance and system improvement. Working in a smaller city however means that my role sometimes also includes assisting with event management, policy improvement, media releases, systems testing, economic development and a range of other challenging and rewarding functions.
Where were you before? (i.e. what is your work background/career path so far)
Prior to my time at City of Prospect I spent several years with a great team at City of Salisbury having entered local government through a short but valuable stint at City of Playford. Prior to my career in local government I was a retailer of dreams and nostalgia in the form of lollies and other sweet treats in the picturesque hills of Adelaide.
What attracted you to local government, and your current role?
I’ve been acutely aware of local government and its value to our communities since my first involvement with the sector at age 7. I recall a keen interest in the number of votes for Mickey Mouse while scrutineering that election. I do think though that my role and the broader role of local government are well-aligned; setting and realising a positive vision for the future while delivering services that benefit our communities today.
What motivates you? What do you find most interesting or exciting about working in local government?
The skills and knowledge within this sector are incredibly vast. Finding ways to collaboratively leverage this and the local knowledge of our community is both an interesting and challenging task.
Speaking about your current role - Senior Development Officer, Planning - what are you most proud of since you've held that role? What initiatives or new ideas have you employed that might be very valuable for other councils to use or try?
I hope that my contribution to City of Prospect is not characterised by a single project or thought bubble, and nor do I think anyone in local government does their best work in isolation. I am proud to be part of a small team that is leading a transformed vision for the inner area of Metropolitan Adelaide and to be part of a Council that has placed design quality squarely at the front of that vision. Whether it be through the restoration of our character homes, shops or churches or through newer development, I hope to make many small contributions through my role that are part of a greater Prospect fabric.
What are your comments on development in Prospect? Being so close to the City - are there more businesses setting up in Prospect? Is the residential side moving to higher density? How do you balance the competing needs of the 'old Prospect' and the push for new development?
Balance is exactly the right word, and where the right balance is achieved I think we will find that the needs of 'old' and 'new' Prospect are complementary rather than competitive. Particularly as our age profile and transport modalities change the desire to have a wide range of accessible businesses and services will only grow. The development of higher density dwellings within our city, paired with the retention of our larger character dwellings within expanded historic character areas, offers flexible housing choice to current or aspiring Prospect residents at any stage of life. This provides opportunities for first home buyers or downsizers who previously may have needed to move away from Prospect for their new home. Creating new housing opportunities near existing business nodes (and the FTTP NBN network) consequentially improves the opportunity for small to medium businesses, in particular, to thrive.
Personally, what’s the longer term plan? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The overarching objectives are simple; to continue to grow and challenge myself, and to ensure that I’m in a role within which I am making a positive contribution. I have had some excellent growth opportunities through my time at City of Prospect and through LG Professionals SA that have positioned me to achieve those objectives by targeting a higher level role within the sector.
Do you have an embarrassing 'local government moment'?
I’m sure that we all have several, but perhaps it will suffice here to say that those who saw me on the dance floor at the Leadership Excellence Awards could provide an answer to this question for me.
How do you spend your leisure time outside of local government?
I spend a good portion of time outside of the office volunteering as a coach and statistician at a local basketball club, the Forestville Eagles. Away from those roles I enjoy running, a good book (a real paper book I should say too) and a good red wine. Preferably the latter two at the same time.