We can do great things

We can do great things

East Gippsland Shire Council’s new chief executive officer has a passion for local government because “it can do great things”.

Anthony Basford comes to East Gippsland from Bega Valley Shire Council in New South Wales, where he was most recently the director community, environment and planning.

“It was a great opportunity to move to an area that had some similarities to where I have just been working for the past four years. There are a number of similarities, but a different community and I’m very excited to be here,” Mr Basford said.

“Both regions have many national parks, state forests, beautiful beaches and are close to the mountains. The differences are the sheer size of East Gippsland and I would say there are some more isolated communities and the communities are more dispersed. It’s important council works with all communities.”

With more than 20 years’ experience in local government, and working in the non-government and education sectors, Mr Basford said he was relishing the challenge of running the organisation.

Mr Basford said his initial view of the organisation, the second largest employer in the region, was that people were proud to work for the council and wanted to do a great job for and with the community.

“Council is really keen to push forward with its capital expenditure program; $53 million this year, which is a massive program. That speaks loudly about council’s commitment to the improvement of amenities and facilities for our community.”

As a Victorian, the CEO said it’s fantastic to be back in his home state.

“The East Gippsland community has been very welcoming. The people have been so friendly. It’s been a real pleasure to come into the organisation and community,” Mr Basford said.

“There are many agencies and organisations that are seeking to tell people how good East Gippsland is. There are lots of advocates for East Gippsland.”

Mr Basford describes his leadership style as genuine and collaborative.

“I want to work with people to find outcomes to issues. It doesn’t mean we can fix every issue because some of them aren’t local government’s, but even then council has a strong role to play in advocacy,” he said.

“It’s about working with people, whether that’s people in the organisation or people externally. How do you collectively work together for different communities and then for East Gippsland as a whole? I try to walk with people to find outcomes.

“A key role for me is to support councillors to see their vision for the community come to fruition.”

The CEO is less than two months into his four year tenure. After 100 days (late summer), he wants to have visited all the main locations where council services are delivered from, and “have purposeful contact with a number of staff across organisation”.

“Also, to have met a number of the key agencies and organisations within the shire as well as some of the key community leaders. I’ve already got several meetings set up, and have been involved with the Gippsland Local Government Network, have had discussions with representatives of the Lakes Entrance community as well as visits to council’s customer service centres at Omeo, Paynesville, Orbost and Mallacoota.

“I hope to present a clear plan to councillors about how I want to take the organisation forward, critically about how I can align the organisation to meet their aspirations, and how we ensure we have the best organisation to meet the council plan objectives.”

Mayor, Cr Natalie O’Connell, said in the short time Mr Basford has been with council, he has started to show his leadership style.

“He is willing to work with the councillors and the community,” Cr O’Connell said.

“Anthony has already placed a focus on working with the councillors and ensuring we can meet the community’s expectations to deliver on our council plan. Under his leadership, after 12 months I am confident the community will be able to see a discernible difference in how the organisation is placed to deliver on its capital works program, work with our many communities, and be responsive.”

PICTURED: East Gippsland Shire’s new chief executive officer, Anthony Basford, pictured with mayor, Cr Natalie O’Connell, says local government “can do great things”.