Published on 02 November 2022


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Dr Claire Allen, CEO of Port Macquarie Hastings Council, spoke to local business and industry leaders at the IGNITE MNC 2022 Symposium in Woolgoolga today about planning our future, reducing bureaucracy and strengthening leadership.

Ignite MNC is a commercial and community event hosted by Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast. Dr. Allen was invited to share her passion for change and her super simple recipe for making it happen.

Dr. Allen’s academic research and live experience in the business world have enabled her to pioneer a simple approach to dealing with the complexities of prosperity and building ‘unstoppable communities’ with a particular focus on regional Australia.

“Building momentum as a group is essential to change, working with those who want change and those who don’t,” said Dr. Allen.

“We must work together to achieve common goals. We are all interested in building intergenerational justice. My job is to serve seven generations after today.

“This is the job of every leader in any sector, particularly in regional and coastal NSW at the moment. It’s also the job of every person at PMHC.

“We are all here to serve our community; how we do it is up to us.”

Dr. Allen’s presentation sparked interest, challenge, and great debate among the audience.

“It’s very simple for me,” said Dr. Allen.

“we have to:

“Believe – In ourselves and in our higher purpose. Right now, my ultimate goal is the community I serve. Your belief is your “why” – the reason why you should work hard to achieve your goals. We must believe not only in the people around us but also in the path we have set for ourselves as leaders to achieve the future. Sometimes it can be very difficult as this belief is tested. If you believe in yourself and the path you have set is firm and looks to the future, then continue the path.

“Leadership Leaders are everywhere. I am an appointed leader, and I work with leaders elected by our community. Our employees are everyday leaders in the work they do and the decisions they make. We as leaders must also do our part, and in local government we must also serve.

Reduce red tape and bureaucracy As a local government leader, my job is to make the bureaucracy simple. Our customers, our community, and our community leaders are not bureaucrats. My job is to meet and manage the requirements for which our people hold the government to account; To spend public money responsibly and achieve results and value for money. It is not our desire or our job to make things difficult.

‘Generate Momentum – Keep the course and move forward, even when obstacles arise. There will always be challenges along the way. Those who keep moving forward and adapt achieve success.”

These topics are applied by Dr. Allen in the way she approaches her day job at PMHC. Her presentation also highlighted how we can all apply these ideas as we strive to understand, address, and solve key problems facing communities in the mid-North Coast, such as population growth, the need for affordable housing, a workforce, and labor shortages.

Dr. Allen has shared this simple formula for many years. As the recipient of many of the most prestigious awards in the field, including this year’s WA IBM Telstra Business Woman Award and Alcoa Enterprising Women’s Award, Dr. Allen said she was delighted to speak to such an important group of people.

“Imagining our potential and planning for the future is what drives me,” she said.

“This is what motivates me and fuels my fire. There is so much to be achieved in this region given its incredible origins – natural beauty, central location, loyal and energetic people.

“We need to plan and design our services with future generations in mind and we need to change the way we do things in order to make that happen.

“It’s easy to stick your head in the sand and go the comfortable way because that’s how it’s always been done.

“I am not afraid of change. I embrace it as constant, something we cannot avoid. So, while this region faces many challenges, we can make positive changes for the future with the right people and the right ideas.”

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