A bigger, better Buller and
NEW BULLER CHIEF: New CEO of Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Mark Bennetts wants to build a bigger and better Mt Buller and Mt Stirling. PHOTO: Vesi Kupenova
It was good timing to get it done before opening weekend.
What are your first impressions up here today and tonight?
MB: My first impressions are that there is an enormous amount of enthusiasm obviously on the mountain.
The people up here are really, really passionate.
In terms of the job, I have one role to play, and everybody has their role to play, and no role is more or less important than other roles.
So really my focus is on how we ensure that all the roles are clicking together and working.
Together we will continue to build on the platform we have here that’s been given to us by the people who have come before us, all the legends who have done the hard work and who have done a fantastic job.
Working together we will get more people, and more Victorians, up here and enjoying this wonderful place.
My impressions are that there is enormous enthusiasm and goodwill, and hopefully I can do my part among our broader team.
An Ombudsman’s report was handed down recently concerning the resort management board.
Is there some work to be done restoring confidence and transparency in mountain operations in light of what the Ombudsman found?
MB: I know it’s one of the things the board is looking for, obviously, given the Ombudsman’s report.
There’s a very clear focus on being very accurate, tight, correct, proper, appropriate, and upholding these values.
A significant part of my background at RACV was in corporate services and in governance related activities, so I’m well aware of the need for us to say we need good governance and we need common sense and strong management, so the team can say, “yeah, we are feeling good about ourselves”.
The team has been working without a leader for a while and getting all of this stuff to happen, so they are very, very capable.
But my role is to try and help put the structures in place so that we will be doing the right thing all the time.
I would like us to become a role model in that particular space.
I have no idea whether the other mountains are better or worse, but we need to be bloody good.
That’s on top of the list of things that need to get done.
Do you have a vision for the mountain?
MB: If I go back to my point about teamwork – I have one role to play.
My vision for the mountain is no more or less important than anybody else’s vision for the mountain.
However, I think the strength is going to come from everybody’s vision, because the best one is likely to be a collective of the different points of view.
Having said that, in my position of ignorance 24 hours in, the three words I’m trying to think about are ‘build bigger, better’ Buller and Stirling.
The “building” part is really about people: building governance, building management, and building connections with people.
Not just the staff inside but everybody who has a role to play on the mountain and off the mountain.
In terms of “bigger”, I don’t necessarily mean buildings, I mean bigger in terms of people coming here.
And this is not rocket science; people have been having a crack at this for years and years.
Victorians have got to be our key target.
We are three hours out of Melbourne, it’s the biggest draw potential we’ve got.
I’ll be absolutely focused on how we get more Victorians that have been here to come back, and those that haven’t been here to come.
We’re talking all walks of life.
When you look at the ethnic mix, we would want to continue to try and work on changing that.
How can we encourage people to feel included, and not just an anglo-saxon view, for example.
So the “bigger” part is all around the people.
The “better” part is really around, first and foremost, snow.
I understand full well how important the water storage is so we can make more snow in the face of climate change.
We need to have better snow for longer if we can.
We want to have better experiences about the access to the mountain and the arrival.
So there’s a whole bunch of things like that to make it better, and I do think that if we get the team working together and if we do those better things, the bigger will happen.