This month we speak to the newly-appointed CEO of Southern Mallee District Council. Tony tells us about what attracted him to the sector, what famous people he has met, and much more...
Hi Tony - thanks for talking to us.
When did you decide to get involved with Local Government? What attracted you to the sector?
I believe Local Government is the under sold success story of Australia’s community and lifestyle. Much of the quality of life and the fabric of our society, many others fondly admire has been created, delivered and continues to be maintained by Local Government. Sure other levels of Government provide the backbone infrastructure and do the heavy lifting. What really counts in the Liveability of our society is the places we have to play and the things we have to do. Our style of housing, recreation and entertainment, the ability to socialise and the harmony it creates, make Australia and South Australia the envy of many others.
In 2011 I was fortunate to work in the United States. This experience reaffirmed with me that Australia and South Australia is just the best place to live and work.
What do you love about your role, and working for a council generally?
Local Government has the best connection with community. It’s a tangible and tactile connection that is easily and quickly measured. Most often the outcomes are clearly visible, quickly and transparently. A feature of the under sold story is the nimbleness and flexibility Local Government applies to supporting its community. It makes for dynamic and interesting work.
What are you “famous” for?
Most often people seem to say it’s my capacity to get things done. Rarely am I intellectually challenged by situations. This gives me confidence there’s a solution out there somewhere and it’s just about spending the time looking, researching and testing possible outcomes. I spend a lot of time speaking and meeting with others to seek the most effective and more efficient solutions to challenges.
Speaking of famous, have you ever met a famous person? Who was it, and what happened?
As a little fella Professor Julius Sumner Miller came to our home when my parents hosted a Dinner as part of my father’s Rotary functions. When I was older I was fortunate to spend some time with Formula One World Champions Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg. As a Cricketer I play with and against many Test Cricketers and Test Umpires and playing footy I was very fortunate to play with and against many if the icons of SANFL football. What I learnt most was that each of these people are just as normal as we are. They have feelings and emotions just like we do. Maslow’s Hierarchy is just as relevant to them as it is to us.
What advice would you have for others seeking to get involved in local government?
Like most things the benefits you enjoy are dependent on the effort you contribute. Local Government is great fun, with many interesting and varying challenges. More importantly there are roles across almost every vocation that often leads to professional development opportunities. Local Government has a rich career path for those who wish to share in the continuing development of the fabric of our great society.
Finally, about your new role - what are your immediate plans in your new role?
To work with the elected members and my colleagues to build a connected, well respected community that aspires to satisfy the present and future needs of the whole community. To support our neighbouring communities and Local Government, as a whole to progress, South Australia as a great place to live, work and invest in the future.