• 23 Nov 2013 12:02 PM | Anonymous
    This month we speak with Simon Bradley, General Manager Infrastructure and Environment at the Rural City of Murray Bridge.

    Simon speaks about his role, his thoughts for the future of Murray Bridge, how Mayors are not usually referred to as "your Majesty" - and how it feels to get back into competitive Cricket after a 23 year break....

    Hi Simon, thanks for talking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?

    I am part of the Executive Team at the Rural City of Murray Bridge (RCMB) as the General Manager Infrastructure & Environment. I am responsible for the Engineering & Assets; Operations; Contracts; and Environment portfolio’s.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?

    I have been in local government for nearly 19 years plus a couple of years in private practice, both in Sydney and Adelaide. I’ve been with the RCMB for a little over a year. Prior to that, I was at the City of Burnside for over 14 years in varying capacities.

    It was definitely time for a change after being at Burnside for so long.  I had a great time at Burnside which gave me many opportunities and developed me to where I am today. I was attracted to Murray Bridge because I was aware of the exciting ‘Imagine Your Rural City 2020’ program they had recently undertaken. Actually, in 2011 the RCMB was awarded the LGMA (SA) Leadership Excellence Award – Partnerships for Growth. This program is all about imaging, dreaming, visualising and realising the future of Murray Bridge and its surrounds.  

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?

    I love the diversity of local government. The fact that on any one day I can be involved in a meeting discussing water allocations for the entire Murray Darling Basin and the next meeting you can be addressing the local Neighbourhood Watch Group about local traffic issues. I am encouraged by the quality of learning programs and career development options that allow local government employees to gain more skills and knowledge, move around an organisation, change jobs or fields, or undertake further study. I have taken advantage of these opportunities and encourage others to do so.  

    Speaking about your current role - How do you think Murray Bridge will change during the next 10 years?

    While many regional centres are seeing people moving away, the RCMB is undergoing significant transformation and is expected to double in size over the next 30 years.

    Council is currently embarking on a $14.7 million Stormwater Harvesting & Reuse Project which encompasses the Gifford Hill residential development, Murray Bridge race course sites, and the Murray Bridge township. The Scheme will collect stormwater from flood mitigation basins within Murray Bridge and transfer it to a site at Gifford Hill for treatment and storage, with future distribution to various locations within Murray Bridge for reuse.

    Council is also realising the vision of the Murray Bridge Town Centre Master Plan. Specifically, for Bridge Street the project aims to reinforce the connections between the river and the town centre. For Sixth Street, the project aims to reinforce the cultural hub of the town, with the Civic Buildings and the Art Gallery being a focus. The overall goal is to provide an exciting, liveable, viable and vibrant destination and centre, activated by people enjoying and using the places and spaces within the streets.

    How do you think Murray Bridge will manage the transition from a “country” town to a more urban role in the future?

    Council wants Murray Bridge and its surrounding districts to have a sense of place, history, vibrancy and become an increasingly attractive place for people to live, work, play, prosper and visit. 

    The regional advantages of the area include the availability of relatively low cost land and proximity to major road and rail services. Tourism to the Murray River is predicted to grow 40% over the next 10 years with the opportunity to increase to 68%.

    Gifford Hill is an 800 hectare greenfield site located in Murray Bridge which has been rezoned to accommodate residential, retail, recreation, community centres and public open space. Over 3,500 allotments are proposed as part of this development which is still in its initial stages and is a very exciting project to be involved in.

    What’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    I would like to have expanded and/or changed the portfolios that I am responsible for. I have experience in the planning, engineering and environmental fields, I would like exposure in community services and corporate areas. I am currently thoroughly enjoying the experience of a regional Council and am unsure if or when I will return to a metropolitan Council.  

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?

    As many of you would be aware, a couple of years ago the City of Burnside was going through some tough times and was heavily scrutinised. It was a particularly tense Council meeting and I was being asked questions from the floor. As per protocol I intended to commence my response with “Through your Worship” however my mind was elsewhere and I answered with “Through your Majesty” (it was a female Mayor at the time). Before I had realised what I had said the members and gallery erupted in laughter. It was a very light hearted moment during a very intense time. However it was a mistake I hope to not make again. 

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?

    I have a passion for natural play. I am a landscape architect by profession and have been involved in the strategy and design of innovative playspaces for many years. Did you know that Australian children, an average, spend less time outdoors than the maximum security prisoners. This is scary statistics. There is a growing momentum in Australia to broaden the understanding of the traditional playground. A natural playspace is one that provides children with access to a range of opportunities that reflect the natural world. I spend a considerable amount of time promoting the benefits of natural play, especially exploring these spaces with my eight and five year old children.

     I’ve also attended every day of the Adelaide Test Match (except 2 due to a Wedding) since 1998. I love to watch any form of cricket. Last year I returned to playing cricket after 23 years in retirement. I thoroughly enjoy playing again although my body takes a considerable amount of time to recover

  • 24 Oct 2013 9:28 AM | Anonymous
    This month we speak with Victoria MacKirdy, General Manager Organisation and Culture at the Alexandrina Council. 

    Victoria tells us about her transition from an urban council, the evolution of organisational culture - and also how she manages work/life balance with 5 kids!

    Hi Victoria - thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    I am currently the General Manager Organisation & Culture with the Alexandrina Council.  My portfolio includes organisational development, work health & Safety, risk management, insurance, governance, strategic planning, audit and arts and culture.  This diverse mix of responsibilities provides me with the opportunity to work right across the organisation, I love the variety within my role.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?

    Prior to coming to Alexandrina I was with the City of Unley as the Manager Governance & Strategic Project, I had also been in an acting role of General Manager Corporate Services for 12 months.  The opportunity to work with a rural Council, particularly one that is very dear to my heart having lived and owned property on the Fleurieu Peninsula for many years.  I can honestly say now that I love where I work and where I live.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
    Having spent over 20 years working in Local Government I have loved the diversification that is available to employees, there are so many opportunities to broaden your skills, I have worked in a number of different Councils, in a variety of roles, from Human Resources, Executive Research, Governance and Strategic Planning to name a few. With the addition of further studies and development opportunities I have been able to contribute to and deliver some significant projects for the benefit of the communities I have worked in.

    Speaking about your current role – There seems to be more focus on Organisation and Culture  than ever before.  How do you think the role, and importance of this function has changed over the last 5 years? 
    The word Culture means so many things – a healthy Culture within an organisation is so important.  I believe it is one of the most important ingredients for a successful leadership model.  At Alexandrina our mission is to “be involved” ensuring that we develop, recognise, listen and adapt to the changing needs of our people.  Supporting the different Cultures within the community is also just as important.  Culture now appears as the fourth pillar to our triple bottom line as a study of the impacts and benefits we can make to the social, economic, environmental  and cultural dimensions of our communities.    

    What are the driving forces of that change – and how do you see them evolving?
    There are some real challenges for Councils as they try to meet increasing community expectations.  We are engaging more and more with our communities so there has naturally been an increase in awareness of the support and services that are now on offer from local councils.  As organisations we are focusing on the health and wellbeing of our staff and recognising them as the most  valuable asset which needs to be maintained, developed, planned for and retained.  We are also recognising the role that arts and culture plays within our community, there is a focus on ageing friendly communities, ensuring that we retain the cultures of our older generations and nurture the new cultures of our younger generation.  There is no “one size fits all” when it come to communities.  

    What’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    After having spent 5 years outside Local Government working in the private sector, I realised how much I enjoyed working in Local Government.  I have been a part of so much change and I have seen how much Local Government has grown as a sector.  I have made a commitment to complete my MBA and within the next 5 years look to secure a CEO role within South Australia.

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?
    I can’t think of an embarrassing moment but I can remember many years ago when I had to tell my CEO that an Elected Member who was viewing a confidential file in records management had climbed out the window and run off with the file, I have witnessed some strange behaviour during my time in Local Government.

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    Leisure – now that’s a funny word.  Given I have 5 children ranging in age from 1 to 14, and I work full time I don’t come across leisure very often – But I am very health conscious and I like to keep fit, so I train regularly on my bike, I enjoy the challenge of a triathlon once or twice a year.  My whole family is very active and sports orientated.  I am also a foodie at heart and I love cooking.


  • 23 Sep 2013 10:54 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Chris Parish, Community and Development Services Manager at Wakefield Regional Council.

    Hi Chris - thanks for speaking with us.Chris Parish - image thanks to the Plains Producer

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?

    I am currently the Community & Development Services Manager.

    The role involves the areas of Building & Development, Environmental Management, General Inspectorate and Community Development.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?

    For the past 7 years I have worked in the private and not for profit sectors mainly in Training and Business Development, most recently with an Indigenous Training & Labour Hire National Company called National Indigenous Training & Hire.  As National Training Manager I was responsible for Business Development throughout South Australia and the Northern Territory as well as managing Compliance of their Registered Training Organisation.

    I was very fortunate in that just as this current opportunity presented itself - the role I was in was about to run its course.  I have always had a passion for working with and within community and this role along with my previous experience appeared to be a good fit for the ongoing professional development of the Wakefield Regional Council and myself.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?

    Being given the opportunity to assist with the ever changing landscape that is Local Government, helping to educate the  community at large understand and appreciate the work that is undertaken on their behalf and to assist the community to help shape their Council and Region.

    Speaking about your current role – What are some of the most interesting projects/programs you are currently involved in at Wakefield? 

    Wakefield Regional Council is a Council that welcomes a wide range of projects and developments to enhance its ever growing region.  These are just a few of the developments/projects we are currently working on. (yes we, as I need to recognise the work and effort my team put into all of our current projects).

    •        Expansion of  Primo Meats abattoir 
    •        Development Plan Amendment for the Bowmans In-Land Intermodal
    •        3 Residential Developments within Port Wakefield/Hamley Bridge
    •         Hamley Bridge Community & Sports Centre  Master Plan
    •         Review of Council Community Grants Program

    What’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    Traditionally Regional Councils have been a great source of quality executive managers and CEO’s.

    Although I acknowledge I have only just started my journey into Local Government I am confident that given the wealth of knowledge and experience in Local Government that I am currently surrounded with, that it would be fair to say my journey from here is not only a promising one but one that will also be rewarding. Hopefully 5 years is the magic number.

    Are you known for any particular sayings?  What’s your most common “mantra”?  

    Given time spent working with remote communities and with some of the most marginalised Australians, the one mantra that springs to mind is “life’s good!” and that’s  because when you have seen how challenging and diverse it really is out there  - everyday worries pale into insignificance.

    Just a pity someone cashed in and made a motza out of selling fridges and TV’s on the back of my mantra.

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?

    I have a very sport active 12 year old son, so if it’s not playing Soccer, Cricket or Bike riding we are usually at one of many great sporting events that South Australia is renowned for. Bring on Adelaide Oval I say! And go the -----   :)


  • 27 Aug 2013 6:28 PM | Anonymous
    This month we speak with the CEO of Renmark Paringa Council, Tony Siviour.  Tony tells us about his background, what he enjoys most about working for a country council and his ideas for the future.

    Hi Tony - thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    I am currently the CEO of the Renmark Paringa Council and have been in this role for approximately two and a half years. 

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    I spent approximately 5 years on the Eyre Peninsula in my first CEO role before returning to the Riverland, with a short 10 month stint at Rural City of Murray Bridge. I am passionate about the Riverland and had always wanted to return to the community where I grew up in a decision making capacity.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
    Positive outcomes at a local level. That’s what I enjoy the most.
    We have an extremely well presented town which we pride ourselves on and to receive positive feedback on the presentation of the town gives me great satisfaction. I also enjoy the great diversity that comes with the job.

    Speaking about your current role - How do you think Renmark Paringa will change during the next 10 years?
    Our community needs to become less reliant on irrigated horticulture and diversify into other areas, be more efficient in our water use and explore opportunities for alternative varieties and markets.

    The leaders in the Riverland region took the opportunity to access the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund which has seen innovative projects driving change.

    In terms of Local Government our Council will work to a greater level regionally, particularly in the area of strategic procurement.  We have already commenced on that journey.

    What will be the biggest influences on those changes?
    The biggest influence on change in the region will be the community's ability to
    embrace change. As I mentioned before the leaders in a particular sector are embracing change and accessing the funding available to do so.

    What’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    Definitely still in local government or a role linked with local government and community outcomes.

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?
    Ha ha where do I start !! No it was in 1993 and I was a junior working at the Berri Council (pre amalgamation) I had taken the burial details on a Friday for a hand dug grave on Monday.

    The issue was that I forgot to pass the details on to the Works Supervisor. When the funeral director arrived an hour before the burial he couldn’t locate the hole. 4 depot guys with 4 shovels were deployed to madly dig the grave with the grave still being dug as the hearse was driving into the cemetery.

    The great thing about that moment was it was the first and last time I ever forgot to pass on burial details. 

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    Is there such a thing? No for some reason I have just bought a vineyard which is fantastic release from a day in the office.

    I love playing cricket too but the eyes are going now so this summer will probably be social tennis and taking my kids skiing and fishing, and maybe the odd quiet frothy.


  • 26 Jul 2013 3:15 PM | Anonymous
    This month we chat with Tony Lawson, well known consultant in the sector and former CEO of Mitcham.

    Tony give us his perspective of some of the challenges facing Local Government, and his current involvement.

    Hi Tony - What's your current role, and what does it involve?

    I have been running my own consultancy practice for the last 16 years building on my experience as a CEO in State and Local Government.

    I have had some really interesting and challenging assignments over my whole career and as a consultant. I consider that I have been really fortunate to have undertaken a really diverse range of exciting projects which brings me to my current role as Lead consultant and Executive Officer to the Local Excellence Expert Panel. This independent Panel was established by the LGA to develop a vision for a "Council of the Future". The Panel is chaired by former State Government Minister, Hon Greg Crafter with former District Court Judge, Christine Trenorden and the former Director of the Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government, Professor Graham Sansom.

    I was appointed by the LGA in October 2012 to undertake this role and I have found it an absolute joy to work with the Panel and to engage with a huge array of key stakeholders across the government and industry spectrum, including many key people involved in Local Government. I worked with the Panel to produce a Discussion Paper – Towards the Council of the Future. This discussion paper is aimed at encouraging debate and discussion about the future of local government and the changes which are required to ensure that it has the capacity to remain relevant and sustainable into the future.

    I will be closely involved in the preparation of a final report to the LGA which is due in mid October.

    What's your Local Government background?  Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?

    As stated I was CEO at the City of Mitcham in the late 90’s and I was engaged by the council as a “change agent”. I presided over a major transformational change of the organisation and introduce a customer service focus for which we were recognised nationally. I also introduced a more rigorous approach to strategic and business planning and we became more involved in economic development and community engagement.

    When I established my consulting practice I was fortunate to be able to continue my role in Local Government and the LGA particularly used me to undertake a wide number of projects involving policy development and review. I think this is a particular strength of mine and this is what attracted me to the role with the Expert Panel.

    What are the some of the most significant changes you have seen in Local Government - and what does the future hold, in your opinion?

    A very significant change has been the professionalisation of Local Government at the staff level from CEO level and down. We have seen a significant change from the “town clerk” mode to professional corporate leadership and management. There is a greater focus on governance, accountability and community engagement.

    However, one of the challenges will be to address the capacity of elected members to manage the affairs of councils in an increasingly complex environment. The research that the Panel has undertaken suggests that financial pressures alone will stretch the capacity of councils to be able provide the required level of resources to meet the needs of their communities as both State and Federal governments struggle with burgeoning debts and constricting revenues.

    How would you compare a consulting role to working for a council? 
    What are the advantages, and maybe some of the disadvantages?

    A key advantage of working as a consultant is the exposure to a wide variety of organisations and issues. I am also fortunate to have a constant supply of really good projects and I have made very good friends in the Local Government and other sectors.

    Over the last few years I have expanded my focus into the health sector and as such I have been involved in some really challenging and interesting projects particularly in Indigenous health.

    As for disadvantages I must say I miss the daily interaction with staff and the other thing that keeps me alert as a consultant is the old adage is that you are only as good as your last job!

    What is the most satisfying thing about working for yourself?

    The variety of my work is its greatest attraction. In addition so long as I meet my deadlines I can work quite flexibly which an office environment does not always allow.

    What's the longer term plan - where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    In the medium to longer term I see myself continuing what I am doing but the focus may change a little. I have really got the bug for local government reform and want to focus more on this in all its facets.

    I also intend doing more work in the health sector including board appointments on a number of health related boards.

    In addition I believe in keeping my brain active to hopefully stave off Alzheimer’s! You never know I may end up doing a PhD!

    What's your most embarrassing Local Government moment?

    There is too many to recall! However there was one occasion when I gave an answer to a question to an elected member which involved some financial analysis which was clearly wrong but I gave the answer in such an authoritative manner that it wasn’t challenged but all my senior staff were falling around laughing their heads off! I was constantly reminded by them of this gaff!

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of work?

    I am a passionate Crows supporter and go to most home games. I am also an avid reader and read mostly crime – what I call ”gripping trash”. I have also discovered the game Words with Friends and play this constantly.

    We also have 6 children (a blended family) and 4 gorgeous grandchildren (with another on the way) so this keeps me really busy!

    Finally we have caravan and go away at every opportunity, including on local government assignments in the country.

  • 24 Jun 2013 10:36 AM | Anonymous
    This month we speak with Kylie Flynn, a graduate of the PLP (Professional Leaders Program) and a past participant in the LGMA Emerging Leaders Program.

    Kylie talks about her role, and how she thinks Council relationships with their communities will change over the coming years.

    Hi Kylie - thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    Customer Team Development Coordinator, Community Relations; ensuring team members are trained in all aspects of their role through performance development strategies and quality assurance.

    The City of Onkaparinga is the largest metropolitan council in South Australia and as such we have four Customer Service locations throughout the area that are touch points for the community. Our team takes pride in what we do with a focus on service delivery and quality, advocates for the customers that contact us.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    Prior to working in local government I lived overseas working in the tourism and hospitality sectors. When I returned to Adelaide with my young family, Local Government seemed a natural transition to move into with the skills I had. I saw local Government as providing a valuable service and resource for the community and this resonated with me.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
    Local Government is diverse and varied, everyday there is something different giving me the opportunity to make a difference and positively impact others.
    I enjoy developing and getting the best out of people in my role and I actively do this myself. I have been fortunate to have the support to develop myself, completing a Bachelor of Behavioural Science, as well as participation in some the LGMA’s programs including; Management Challenge, Emerging Leaders Program, and Professional Leaders Program.

    Speaking about your role - How do you think Councils have changed their relationship and interface with customers and the community over the last 10 years?
    It is challenging for councils large and small due to the complexity of the responsibilities we all have. We are no longer ‘rates, roads & rubbish’. Along with this, technology has evolved, our lives have become busier and community expectations have grown along with this.

    The role of Council is to be the spokesperson for the community, to act on behalf of and provide the resources needed. Councils are certainly now working more collaboratively with communities to enable a successful and sustainable future.

    How do you think that relationship will evolve? 
    The relationship will continue to strengthen and change as we take advantage of technology to connect further with our community. I am also keen to see what lies ahead with the Council referendum in September and what impact this will have for Local Government in future.
    What’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    I see myself continuing to work in Local Government, linking my qualifications and experience in other roles in future where I can have a positive influence and impact for the business.

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?
    Hmm, I try to forget those. Which one? I do recall spending a considerable amount of time trying to start a fleet vehicle in the manager’s car park only to eventually realise it was a hybrid vehicle. I still hope that no-one noticed that one. Too late now I suppose!

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    I enjoy having a busy and full life with family and friends with various sports and outdoor activities. We are fortunate to have at our doorstep some fantastic beaches down south and we are all actively involved in Surf Life Saving, where I manage a Nipper age group at our club in the summer months.

    Recently, I have explored my ‘creative side’ and taken my hand to silver jewellery making. Friends and family are enjoying the handmade gifts and I am enjoying the process.

  • 25 May 2013 2:34 PM | Anonymous
    This month we speak with Tara Dunstone, Librarian/Group Leader at Alexandrina Council.

    A "dyed in the wool" young Librarian, she tells us her thoughts about the future of libraries and her passion for Local Government.

    Hi Tara, great to speak with you.  Can you start by telling us about your current role?

    Librarian/ Group Leader at Alexandrina Council. The roles involves the coordination of programs through the lifespan, as well as overseeing some very capable people who organise book groups, volunteers and deliver programs.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    I have been in local government since 2005, and moved across from City of Marion in August last year.

    In your opinion, how different is a regional council compared to metro, as a place to work?
    The biggest differences are the amount different things you get to do in your role within a smaller organisation, and the strong sense of community in a regional area.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working for a regional council?
    Both of the above. The community down here on the Fleurieu are really amazing – they are very connected and involved. As an example, a lovely man in the community leant me half a dozen of his easels for an art workshop that I coordinated in the Strathalbyn Library, simply because he wanted to help out. We have a large number of passionate volunteers in the library service and two very committed Friends of the Library groups who I have the privilege of working with.

    How do you think the role of libraries has changed over the last 10 years?
    Libraries are amazing places. If you haven’t been into one in a while drop by your local, and be prepared to be blown away. I have only been working in libraries for 7 or 8 years, but in that time the public library network in South Australia has worked enormously hard to introduce new e-services such as free audio book and e-book borrowing, and OneCard – which is the connecting of all South Australian Public Libraries via their online catalogues – this project, currently at the half-way mark of completion, allows the customer to order books online from all across SA, and borrow and return at any public library.

    How do you think they will evolve?  What will they look like in 10 year’s time?
    Libraries are always going to be about connecting people with information, with technology, and with each other. How this happens in 10 years may look different to now, but expect constant innovation and an ever increasing focus on what the customer wants and needs.

    What’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    Definitely still in Local Government and in a role working directly with the community. Those of us here know how rewarding it is to help shape our community.

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?
    I’m far too honest for my own good, so here goes – I once split my skirt up the back quite significantly as I dashed up some steps in the café of a busy public space. In front of a number of colleagues from different departments who were having a team meeting. Good fun.

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    Probably reading! The moment I walk out of the workplace in the evening I’m hooking up an audio book through my car radio that I’ve borrowed online with my smartphone during the day. The weekends will be spent walking with my partner around our suburb of Hallett Cove – maybe eating breakfast at the lovely waterfront café there. Or snuggled up in bed with a good book – you can take the girl out of the library, etc. etc.!

  • 27 Apr 2013 2:51 PM | Anonymous
    This month we speak with Andrew Johnson, the CEO of Port Pirie Regional Council.

    Andrew talks about how he enjoys working for a regional council, and how he once got lost in Parliament House...

    Hi Andrew - thanks for talking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    CEO of Port Pirie Regional Council

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    I was previously the General Manager (CEO) of Guyra Shire Council in northern NSW

    In your opinion, how different is a rural council compared to metro, as a place to work?
    Due to the small size of many rural councils, you get a much broader range of experience that you can't get in larger organisations.  One minute you are talking to Ministers and developers, the next you are sorting out dead pigs.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working for a rural council?
    You can make a profound difference to the community, through major community projects, service improvements, and attracting new businesses to town.  These are more noticeable in small self contained communities.

    What’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    I have recently had my contract extended for another 5 years, so I am likely to be driving the growth of Port Pirie for some time to come.

    What advice would you have for someone seeking a career in Local Government?
    Local Government offers so many career paths, that you will find both rewarding and satisfying.  Don’t be afraid to try a rural council to expand your experience.

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?
    Getting lost in the Ministerial wing of Parliament House in Canberra.

    Are you known as having a favourite “saying” or term?  What is it?

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    I am a mad keen Port Power member and attend most home games.

  • 25 Mar 2013 12:31 PM | Anonymous
    This month we speak to Gary Brinkworth, Manager, Environmental Services at Berri Barmera Council.

    Gary talks to us about his experiences working for a rural council, and his memorable "brush with the law"....!

    Hi Gary, thanks for talking with us. 

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    I am currently the Manager of Environmental Services at Berri Barmera Council. This includes the areas of Development Services, General Inspectors, Environmental Health, Property and Major Projects.
    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role ?
    I was previously at Marion Council and was attracted by the variety of work that is provided working in a regional area.

    In your opinion, how different is a rural council compared to metro, as a place to work?
    Very different, both negative and positive. The distance creates some barriers; however the major positive for me is the ability to undertake roles that I would not be afforded in a metro council.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working for a rural council?
    The lifestyle that is attached to the work outside hours – golf, the river, fishing, sport are all the way of life.

    What’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    Cashing in the winning lottery ticket! Or more realistically trying to progress and learn as much as I can within Local Government in roles that I enjoy doing.

    What advice would you have for someone seeking a career in Local Government?
    Find something you are passionate about and pursue that course.

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment? 
    Getting stopped directly out the front of the Berri Barmera Council office by a local police officer as I arrived for my interview, luckily not for an offence. Made the initial conversation a little interesting.

    Are you known as having a favourite “saying” or term?  What is it?
    My most frequent saying would have to be to my assistant “Tracey, I need help with……”

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    Enjoying the lifestyle that the Riverland has to offer through golf, the Berri Warriors Baseball team, or relaxing around the river. A lot of time travelling back to see my partner in Adelaide as well.

  • 23 Feb 2013 7:23 AM | Anonymous

    This month we speak to John Devine, General Manager, Assets and Infrastructure at the City of Unley.

    John Share with us his background, his "return" to Local Government and why "Ad-Hocary" is one of his favorite sayings!

    Hi John, thanks for talking with us.   

    What’s your current role at Unley, and what does it involve?

    General Manager, Assets & Infrastructure
    Key Responsibilities include:
          Depot related services – maintenance & renewal of open space & infrastructure;   street sweeping; fleet management & workshop
          Asset Management for all assets
          Property portfolio management, renewal & maintenance
    Capital program
    Waste management & related services
    Sustainable landscapes, design & delivery - includes streetscape renewal, arboricultural services

    Where were you before and what attracted you to the role (and back to Local Government?)

    For most of the last decade I have been in consulting, specialising in change management, process redesign, organisational reviews & improvement, and asset management.

    During this time I have worked in UK, Asia, South Africa, New Zealand and across Australia with a range of clients. I worked with a large number of Local Governments during this time & believe it is can be an interesting, diverse and dynamic place to work.

    Having got tired of continually travelling I decided that working in Adelaide with a progressive medium to large Council going through major change would be an exciting opportunity.

    In your opinion, how have things changed in local government since you last held a position in a council?

    The expectations of local government continue to increase from our stakeholders, particularly other tiers of government and our residents. There are also a growing number of legislative hurdles and requirements which must be complied with.

    Internally staff are still looking for strong, ethical leadership, but a new generation of employees come to work with a somewhat different mindset and attitude to their predecessors.

    The level of innovation and cooperation within and across Councils also appears to have increased, albeit that Local Government always tended to be a leader across governments in these areas

    What is the most satisfying thing about your Unley role?

    Its early days yet, but I would say joining a Council with a completely new Executive team and many new senior managers and being a part of these as they mould into a strong leadership group with a united focus has been very satisfying

    What’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    Unley is a great place to work. The Council, senior staff and residents all want and expect Unley to “punch above our weight”.

    We have an exciting and challenging forward agenda, & I am particularly keen to see and assist our next generation of leaders grow and mature.

    What advice would you have for someone seeking a career in Local Government?

    Do it. Local Government has a great diversity in jobs, styles and opportunities. Don’t be worried about moving round to different Councils as this will help grow your knowledge and capabilities.

    Seek out a mentor who can help provide you some guidance and advice. Ask lots of questions & continue to learn.

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government (or consulting) moment?  
    We were conducting a major marketing/ promotional evening with potential local gov’t clients in New Zealand & I was presenting our capability in some key areas. All was going well until my summary when instead of the punch line being the name of our company as the consulting firm with all this expertise who could help, I announced the name of a major competitor – who I used to belong to.

    The partners of the firm, while being able to make light of this, never let me live it down.

    We know you’ve only been there a relatively short time – but are you already known as having a favourite “saying” or term?  What is it?

    Ad-hocary – relating to the fact that we seem to have very little over arching principles, guidelines, frameworks, or operational process to assist in defining scope of work or approach.

    Consequently each project or task tends to be unique and it can be difficult to defend the preferred option with residents. In other words we take an ad-hoc approach to our work

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?

    I mostly enjoy spending time with family and friends, especially with a good wine & great music.

    Sport has always been a passion, particularly the “real football” & now that I’m too old to play I enjoy cycling.

Mailing Address:  5 Hauteville Tce EASTWOOD SA 5063   Phone: 8291-7990;   Email: admin@lgprofessionalssa.org.au

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