Last week the PSP team sponsored a ‘Tips for Success in Local Government Planning’ hosted by the Planning Institute of Australia. A panel of experts from Local Government represented a breadth of planning experience, statutory, strategic, enforcement, regional and metro. While there, we learnt how to get the most out of your Local Government career and how to appreciate your role in the council.
These are our four key takeaways...
Focus on the big picture
Planning can be challenging, as a planner you face so many different pressures, externally from the community, internally from the organization, not to mention time pressures, etc. It’s important to take a step back and remember why you do what you do. Try not to get lost in the process and remember planners are the key to the community to achieving their dreams!
A really good tip from Amanda Cuxson (Statutory Planning Coordinator, Investigations and Projects at Nillumbik Shire Council) - was to go out and view some of the applications you have approved in the area as it might look different in real life. It may have made sense at the time and on paper but when you see it in reality, it might not. Or on the other hand, it may look awesome and it will remind you of the impact one of your decisions can have.
Understand the organisation
There are so many different elements within planning for you to get involved in, that was reflective in the breadth of experience in the panel alone. There are many avenues you can take your career and you don’t need to feel ‘stuck’ in one area or in one organization.
Get involved in process improvements, take the opportunity to learn and grow your skillset when given the chance. Learn from those around you, don’t be afraid to ask questions and use the senior team members to tap into their knowledge and experience.
A tip from Natasha Swan (Manager of City Planning – City of Monash) - Integrate with other departments in the organization. You’ll find you get a lot more achieved and in a shorter time frame when you take the time to understand the people around you and what their drivers are. When you are waiting for another team to come back on something, walk across and ask in person, instead of sending an email. You also have the opportunity to learn from other disciplines this way, too.
Applicants are people too!
The planning scheme can be tricky to navigate for planners, let alone for people who are not qualified, imagine how they feel trying to understand the legislation and how to interpret it. Planners have a tendency for being too technical at times, perhaps it’s time to bring it back to basics for the customer. Be open and honest with applicants and you will quickly form relationships and build rapport with the community. Breakdown the barriers between applicants and yourself by empathising with them.
A great tip from John Ciavarella (Manager of Statutory Planning – City of Ballarat) - Do not tell the applicant how they CAN’T do something, instead show them how they CAN!
Power of Planning
Planners are the frontline troops, delivering the community's hopes and dreams. Every small decision you make leads to an accumulative change.
The smallest application can make a difference to the community or even one street. Chad Griffiths spoke about ‘death by a thousand cuts’ and how each minor planning decision could lead to the eventual death of an area – so think of that in reverse, each minor decision can change a place for the better. Try not to get disheartened if you find yourself doing 20 sheds and remember the possible impact.
A great tip from Chad Griffiths (Principal Strategic Planner – Brimbank City Council) - “Don’t underestimate the power of your influence.”
(Side note, my director said if Chad was running for a political party he would vote for him, this will give you an idea of how empowering this sentiment was!)
We left the event with a broader understanding and respect for the planning profession and are excited to support more planners on their journey to success within Local Government.
If you are interested in exploring opportunities in Local Government, connect with Emma here for a confidential chat.
Public Sector People are currently recruiting an Environmental Officer for a Water Authority on a contract basis. The Environmental Officer works within the Environment team, assisting the team’s role as a business advisory service and with delivering ongoing improvement in environmental management and compliance. The Environmental Officer provides integral support to the Manager Environment & Climate Adaptation and Environmental Advisor roles. This role is suited to a graduate who has had some professional experience, e.g. a student placement or internship and who is ready to build on their experience. Key Responsibilities and Duties Administer key water quality monitoring programs, including Blue-Green Algae, the MID Nutrient Monitoring program, Regional Environment Improvement Plan and other environmental monitoring programs. Assist with the organization's obligations under the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003, including ongoing implementation, annual reporting and stakeholder liaison. Providing support for environmental services to business units, including project environmental management, environmental incidents and environmental auditing. Selection Criteria A degree in an appropriate field (e.g. Environmental Sciences, Natural Resource Management etc) Understanding of natural resource management principles and concepts, in particular as they relate to the management of water resources. Competent in the use of the Microsoft suite of products. Additional knowledge of software such as GIS will be highly regarded. Benefits Immediate start. Full time role Location is negotiable Opportunity to build your experience within a Water Corporation. Please apply using the relevant link with an update resume. For a confidential discussion regarding this role, contact Emma Murphy at PSP on 03 8535 3111.
Public Sector People are working with a metro council in the Western suburbs on the recruitment of a Senior EHO. You will be able to demonstrate your excellent industry knowledge and previous experience working for a Local Council as an EHO. You will be able to competently complete registered premises inspections whilst communicating with local proprietors in a professional manner. This is a contract role running through to the end of the year and paying $46p/h + super. We also have roles across a number of councils in metro and regional Victoria, if this role isn’t suitable for you but you are available for contract work on a full-time or part-time basis please contact us or apply following the link and we will reach out. You will be working on Customer complaint investigations Public Health and Wellbeing Act inspections Food Act inspections Pandemic Team support Health promotion support and program implementation and development Customer engagement and setting expectations Requirements include: Suitable qualifications – Bachelor of Applied Science or Health Science (Environmental Health) – or recognised equivalency Recent public sector experience as a practicing Environmental Health Officer, or membership with Environmental Health Australia Current Victorian driver licence. Previous Local Government experience as an EHO. For a confidential discussion regarding this opportunity or other Environmental Health roles within public sector, please contact Emma Murphy on (03) 8535 3111 | Emma@publicsectorpeople.com.au.
PSP are working with a metro council in the East on the recruitment of a Senior Urban Designer. Joining a newly established design team, you will be working on broad and varied projects, this is the opportunity to champion better design outcomes and generate rich placemaking initiatives in a large LGA. You will be working on major activity centres, revitalization of public spaces and have a strong focus on community engagement and consultation. This role is suited to a Senior Urban Designer who is passionate about making a difference through place-based human centred design. Can offer a contract or permanent arrangement, depending on your preference. Open to full-time or part-time hours. Requirements include: Qualifications in, Architecture, Urban Design, Landscape Architecture or related discipline, and strong experience in the delivery of related programmes of work. Experience in Adobe Creative Suite, AutoCAD, SketchUp (or equivalent related graphic and 3D modelling packages), and sound understanding of Local Government Skills in working with consultants, leading a team and engaging with internal stakeholders, government and industry bodies and the community. Benefits include: Flexible working hours Hybrid model remote and office based arrangement Can offer contract or permanent role Band 7 remuneration For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at PSP on (03) 8535 3111. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format using the link below.
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