It’s time for Hobart to step up and own its role as Capital City

Kelly Grigsby – City of Hobart CEO

Hobart is one of the most unique capital cities in the world.

It was this uniqueness, and opportunity for well-designed human scale growth, that brought me to Hobart 18 months ago – and I haven’t been disappointed.

Having frequently visited Hobart prior to accepting the role of CEO for the City of Hobart, I was drawn to the city’s strong sense of culture and unique identity as well as the food and events of course!

I was and will continue to be inspired by the people of Hobart.

As CEO for the City of Hobart, I’m committed to ensuring that we position Hobart as a city of the future; to achieve collaborative and commercial results; and to imbed a ‘Community First’ service model focusing on better meeting the needs of our community.

It’s a culture of thinking differently that we as a community need to embrace and it’s what drives my vision as the City of Hobart CEO.

We’re seeking to raise the bar on what it means to be a great city – one which continuously innovates and works collaboratively with our elected members and stakeholders to place the community at the heart of everything we do.

I’m a strong believer in the philosophy that cities are the most powerful economic engines in the world and I have a long deep-seated passion for cities, urban design, place making, innovation, social and economic inclusion and social justice.

Importantly, I believe it’s our role as the engine room of Tasmania to be at the forefront of shaping a contemporary capital city that is future fit and able to deliver on the current and future needs of our residents, businesses and wider community.

In my experience, a new term of council has always offered an opportunity to stop and reset – to consider what’s working and what isn’t, as well as making sure that the new council is appropriately supported so they can work together effectively to achieve their collective aspirations.

As we looked to welcome this new term of council, we undertook extensive work reviewing the current council operating model through the lens of what it means to be a true capital city.

The new model we’re proposing to establish for this council term introduces new formats and structures that other Australian capital cities are using successfully to serve their communities.

Our city governance has previously been shaped on traditional models that worked for a particular moment in time, but we need to be an organisation that is as resilient, as it is future fit.

These proposed changes to our City of Hobart governing model represent a significant change and will result in improvements that will better serve and deliver on the needs of our Hobart community.

As Tasmania’s capital city we should always be sector leading when it comes to matters of good governance.

The new Hobart governance model facilitates an operating model that fosters a more collaborative framework to enable elected members to work together on important strategic matters and good decision making for the city that is informed by the Capital City Strategic Plan.

The model is underpinned by enhanced community engagement that informs policy and strategy development through newly established Portfolio Committees.

The new Portfolio Committees will be made up of elected members together with community members and individuals with subject matter expertise.

One of the most significant changes with the new governance model will be to our planning committee model.

The changes here will enable all elected members to hear from and ask questions of planning applicants and other interested parties with the change aimed at delivering a more efficient assessment and deliberation process for applicants, representors and elected members.

All elected members will have the opportunity to attend one meeting a fortnight and hear all the information available on each planning application before voting on a determination.

Previously, most planning matters were considered over multiple meetings both at the Planning Committee and then again at full Council often leading to duplication in the debate and a delay for all parties.

At the heart of this new model proposed is the desire for the City of Hobart to deliver the best outcomes for our community.

It’s been clear to me that we have a big opportunity in front of us to use this moment in time to make some important changes to ensure that the City of Hobart is supported by a contemporary governance model which adequately represents and responds to the needs of the Hobart community.

Our clear strategic vision for Hobart requires the transformation of our organisation to ensure that it is a contemporary organisation with a city shaping agenda to achieve its full potential as a liveable and vibrant capital city.

If we’re to cement Hobart’s position as the world’s best small capital city – a city built for people that is connected, friendly and safe – then we need to affect these changes now.

When I started in mid-2021, I committed to working in partnership with elected members to ensure that the City of Hobart inspires confidence, is community focused, is innovative and responsive to the needs of our community.

I’m as keen to see Hobart thrive as I was when I first started at the City of Hobart.

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