Ex­mouth chief ap­pointed

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Per­era

The Shire of Ex­mouth’s new chief ex­ec­u­tive has ar­rived with plans to over­see a re-build­ing of com­mu­nity trust in the Shire and de­velop Nin­ga­loo as one of the WA tourist des­ti­na­tions of choice.

Ap­pointed in April, Cameron Woods ar­rived in Ex­mouth last week to be­gin a five-year term in the role, mov­ing from the City of Al­bany, where he was ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of com­mer­cial ser­vices for more than five years.

He steps into the role in the af­ter­math of a 2016 Cor­rup­tion and Crime Com­mis­sion in­quiry into claims of mis­con­duct at the Shire, which has had wide-rang­ing con­se­quences, in­clud­ing the dis­missal of for­mer Shire chief ex­ec­u­tive Bill Price in De­cem­ber.

Mr Woods said with his 22 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in lo­cal govern­ment and pas­sions for tourism, the en­vi­ron­ment, re­gional de­vel­op­ment and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, the new role had struck him as a “per­fect match”.

Af­ter be­ing part of a turn­around in lo­cal gov­er­nance at the City of Al­bany dur­ing a sim­i­larly trou­bled pe­riod, he said he would set high stan­dards at the Shire and pur­sue close com­mu­nity en­gage­ment to re-build trust.

“It’s the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to hit the re­set but­ton and we want to be best prac­tice now with ev­ery­thing we do go­ing for­ward,” he said.

“So we’re go­ing to draw a line in the sand, and from a gov­er­nance point of view, we want to be the best we can be in lo­cal govern­ment.”

One of the key points for Mr Woods’ ap­point­ment was his work in tourism in Al­bany, in­clud­ing reen­er­gis­ing its award-win­ning Na tional An­zac Cen­tre and co-or­di­nat­ing the Amaz­ing Al­bany cam­paign. He said pro­mot­ing “pris­tine” Nin­ga­loo in the WA tourism mar­ket would be a fo­cus.

“The Nin­ga­loo ex­pe­ri­ence is in my mind the jewel in the crown for WA,” he said.

“There’s lots of places that grow wine, and there’s lots of places that have surf but this World Her­itage area, cape to range, and the flora and the fauna and the unique land­scapes and the en­vi­ron­ment, I think has in­ter­na­tional ap­peal.

“So with th­ese di­rect flights from Lon­don com­ing in with the ad­di­tional cheaper fares to get to Lear­month and the in­ter­est we’re also get­ting from the State Govern­ment and Qan­tas to then add on po­ten­tially Frank­furt and Paris to that next year . . . I think puts us in good stead.”

The Nin­ga­loo Cen­tre fits into that vi­sion as an in­ter­pre­tive cen­tre for the sur­round­ing nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment and a “one-stop shop” for com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and func­tions.

Mr Woods said he would also fo­cus on di­ver­si­fy­ing the lo­cal econ­omy, in­clud­ing de­vel­op­ment of the de­fence in­dus­try and off­shore oil and gas op­por­tu­ni­ties.

He said it was a priv­i­lege to have been ap­pointed to the role and he was en­joy­ing his time in town so far de­spite a “whirl­wind” few days.

It is still a trou­bled pe­riod for the Shire of Ex­mouth, with its coun­cil dis­banded sev­eral weeks ago when four of five sus­pended coun­cil­lors re­signed af­ter meet­ing with Lo­cal Govern­ment Min­is­ter David Tem­ple­man.

In­terim com­mis­sioner Ian Fletcher will gov­ern in their place un­til lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions are held in Oc­to­ber.

Pic­ture: Amanda Fuery/ Shire of Ex­mouth

New Shire of Ex­mouth chief ex­ec­u­tive Cameron Woods has ar­rived in town to be­gin his role.

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