Mayor Peter Besseling discusses how his council will break silos across departments.

What is your vision for the city?

The council’s vision is for a connected community that provides for its residents the ability
to work and live.

How will technology help?

Technology will help drive efficiency and effectiveness gains within Council systems
and will help provide for greater community connection to Council and its services.

As the world continues to move towards greater use of mobile data, there are
opportunities for Council to capitalise on the benefits that technology offers. This
cannot, however, be at the expense of our relationship with those in our community
who may not have the capacity or skills needed to take advantage of such changes.

How will you develop your digital services?

PMHC Councillor_Mayor Peter Besseling_(sans chains)_(9023)_Cropped_2016_cmyk_300

This will occur through developing sound internal practices and effective external
options. Given the size of both Council’s staff and residents within the Local
Government Area, attention is required to be paid to both internal and external
systems.

What has been the greatest innovation from your civil service?

The greatest innovation is a close alignment of both elected officials and Council staff
that was achieved through adopting a Councillor Portfolio system. This allowed close
alignment of both strategy and operations, that delivered services and infrastructure
that were closely aligned with community expectations.

How is the city using feedback from citizens?

The community provides a great resource to Local Government, through their ability
to provide critical feedback covering a broad area of Council services and
infrastructure, timely highlighting of immediate issues and being involved in Council
short-term and long-term planning.

What has been the biggest challenge that the city overcame in 2016?

The co-ordination and management of a large increase in capital works spending
across the Port Macquarie-Hastings LGA was a huge challenge for the area,
particularly in trying to minimise disruption to the community and in maintaining fiscal
discipline. This included work in the centre of Port Macquarie that was well managed
and achieved a wonderful outcome.

What is your top priority for 2017?

The top priority for Council will be to deal with the infrastructure challenges
associated with the rapid growth of our community, both more recently and
historically.

Other priorities include capitalising on the opportunities associated with
our recent expansion of universities and improved access to new markets
such as Melbourne.

If I were to visit your city, what one place would you recommend?

I would certainly recommend a visit to any one of our beautiful beaches or our
wonderful hinterland communities. We are lucky enough to have a lovely natural
environment, alongside a very welcoming social structure.