Meet council’s new agent for change

SUSAN Tracey has moved from Newcastle to the Shoalhaven to be a part of what she sees as an exciting decade ahead.

Ms Tracey is Shoalhaven City Council’s first executive strategy manager.

It’s a role that will involve her in community engagement and consultation, internal audits, legal issues, planning and reporting and public officer duties.

She has a background in communications and strategy centred on regional economic growth.

“That is my passion,” she said.

“I was an adviser and change manager at senior levels of both state and local government.

“A lot of what I’ve done was about activating land for tourism, recreation and community use.”

Ms Tracey was seeking change in more than once sense before securing the role.

A sea or tree change was on her mind, and when the position came up at a council embarking on structural change, she thought it was a perfect fit.

“The primary thing for me is seeing the unrealised potential here, for connectivity between the river and the Nowra CBD.

“There are towns around the state having exactly the same conversation.

“For me, it’s about how we make that happen and community engagement is going to be front and centre and that includes the Community Consultative bodies

“We need the community behind it, to help drive it.

“I really get a sense of the pride people have for this place,” she said.

In her previous roles at Newcastle City Council and with the state government Ms Tracey played a driving role steering the region in a direction that resulted in change for the better.

After the closure of BHP she helped guide that community through a time of change, a regeneration that resulted in growing community pride, community ownership and a vibrant CBD that has been rated by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit.

With her experience and fresh eyes on the region she sees that same potential in the Shoalhaven.

Ms Tracey is excited that Shoalhaven City Council is looking at change and it was that change that attracted her to the role.

“I wanted to be a part of something that was starting. I’ve seen how community pride creates momentum and can make things happen.

“I see an opportunity here. This area is possibly where Newcastle was 10 years ago.

“The first step is to consult with the community and find out how they want to move forward.

“The common thread through all that is driving improvement and leveraging opportunities that will position this region for the future,” she said.

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