HR beyond the city limits: Albury City Council

by Iain Hopkins11 Jun 2012

Personal file: Murray Watson

Family: Married to Kate and have three very keen and active young children: Alice 6; James 4; and Annabelle 2. They add perspective and humour to my at times stressful life!

Favourite sports: Cricket and Australian Rules football.

Favourite movie or TV: The Bourne Trilogy

Best advice ever received: Probably two pieces of advice stick in my mind: firstly, my father telling me to finish uni, when I wanted to quit about halfway through; and secondly that there is a positive to be found in every situation.

Self-described: Practical, loyal, knowledgeable, determined, understanding and flexible

Hobbies: Keeping fit – running, cycling or the gym. I also enjoy fishing and the odd round of golf.

First job and/or worst job: While I was at uni I had a job labouring at a leather tanning plant. It taught me the values of commitment and hard work.

If not in HR: I’m not really a ‘what if’ person, but I admire the staff of the Westpac Helicopter Rescue Service. It would be very challenging, test your resilience but also be highly rewarding

In his own words...

What achievement are you most proud of in your career?

When I reflect on what’s happened here at Albury City we’ve introduced a number of excellent HR initiatives, but the thing that really gives me a sense of achievement is being able to play an active role in raising the profile of HR within the organisation. It’s moved from a department that was viewed and operated with an administrative, regulatory approach to one which has a strategic focus which actively works with and has a good understanding of all areas of the business.

Shift from the city

Research undertaken by Evocities indicates that 64% of Sydneysiders are casting their eyes further afield to live and work.

According to the research, which surveyed 1,000 Sydney residents, and 500 Evocities regional dwellers, Sydney residents want to find a better lifestyle, cheaper housing, lower living costs and less traffic. One in three would consider relocating to a regional city in NSW in pursuit of these and other benefits.

 Other marked differences between Sydney and regional city living included:

  • Traffic congestion was cited by 38% of Sydney people as an issue compared to 18% in Evocity areas (Albury, Armidale, Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga)
  • Noise pollution was a problem for 23% of Sydney residents compared to 9% of Evocity residents
  • Lack of community was an issue for 21% of Sydney people compared to 8% in a regional city

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