Dungog Council's new Economic Development Manager Bruce Williams is excited to bring his experience to the shire and help shape its future.
Mr Williams' 13-year long career has spanned from far north Queensland down to Tasmania, all focussed on economic development in local government.
"I'm interested in opportunities and there are some clear opportunities in this regional area," he said. "The attraction here is that you've got 750,000 to a million people within an hour and a half's drive in the Newcastle area and you've got Sydney on top of that," he said.
"The interesting challenge for me and Dungog is to figure out how we leverage opportunity out of a large population that's right next door.
"There's not many rural areas that are that close to those large population bases and so I figured there's got to be some interesting opportunities. They're not always easy to unpack."
As the Economic Development Manager it is Mr Williams' job to help implement the Dungog Economic Development Plan 2022-26; Pathways to Prosperity.
This document outlines five key themes of development, develop the identity of council, improve existing and develop new infrastructure, improve local industry, foster innovation and help improve the income of local residents and businesses.
"I'm not coming into Dungog and saying that this is my broad idea, there's a lot of positive work that's been done. There's five key areas, 11 priorities and 41 actions in total which is a bigger cake than you'll eat. It's a big piece of work," Mr Williams said.
"I've been mapping it into themes where there's some commonality. There's certainly a lot of focus out of the plan that relates to tourism.
"You've only got to walk down Dungog on a Saturday, there's plenty of life in the town, especially the stuff you've got going on out at the Dungog Common."
The four-year plan, starting in 2022, is an ambitious one and Mr Williams is excited to help execute it.
"It's an interesting plan because often you find these strategies and plans have a whole bucket list of things and no priority but council have actually done a great job in putting some priority around the main areas," he said.
Mr Williams sees his role as helping facilitate a good working relationship with local businesses and community organisations and helping to consolidate resources in order to develop Dungog Shire as a whole.
Alongside this he hopes to streamline the process of going through council in a way that still reflects Dungog Shire Council's integrity.
"There's a lot of regulation as a part of doing business and sometimes it's hard for people to find a way through that and so I can do my best to help facilitate that path through council," Mr Williams said.
"It's navigating bureaucracy, making it as easy as possible. There's no magic wand but I can do what I can to make that process as simple, straightforward as possible."
For more information visit Dungog Shire Council's website.
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