Key projects in new Shire chief’s sights

Glenn CordingleyBroome Advertiser
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New Shire of Broome chief executive Sam Mastrolembo is a man with a mission.

His two main priorities as leader of 141 employees are to retain staff and to secure grant funding forseveral projects set to change the face of Broome.

Working almost 20 years in local government in a variety of disciplines, including 15 years in senior management, the 40-year-old has been with the Shire for more than four years.

Mr Mastrolembo started with the Shire as director of corporate services before taking on the role of deputy chief executive and advancing to the top job last month.

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He said significant community consultation and planning had given the council strategic direction and identified priority initiatives, and his goal was to help make them a reality.

“With sound planning in place, I aim to ensure we will continue to focus our attention on securing grant funding to deliver key projects for the community of Broome in collaboration with key stakeholders,” Mr Mastrolembo said.

He said the $12 million Chinatown revitalisation project was a key part of his focus as it built momentum through consultation and advanced planning stages.

“I am excited to be in position to help bring this and other key projects to fruition for our community,” Mr Mastrolembo said.

He pointed to several other key aspirations that would require substantial capital investment from the Shire to attract grant funding.

Top of his list was the revetment at Town Beach to halt erosion eating away the pindan cliffs near the old cemetery some time next year, as well as amenity upgrades and a fishing platform.

“Town Beach is a good example where we have been working to get to a high level of detail with master planning so we can try to deliver some of the initiatives council has set in its corporate business plan,” Mr Mastrolembo said.

“Town Beach has been identified for sub-projects and we have made a submission to Building Better Regions for grant funding that closed recently and we are hopeful of being successful.

Mr Mastrolembo said he would also continue to seek funding opportunities through other avenues, such as Lotterywest.

The race was also on to replace the old tip with a regional resource recovery park, development of a youth precinct at the Broome Recreation and Aquatic Centre and lobbying for a safe boat harbour.

The council intends to inject money from its own budget into various projects, but their ultimate success hinges on Governments and other agencies stumping up the lion’s share of the money. “Not all of these things are the direct responsibility of the local government,” Mr Mastrolembo said.

“It is about trying to be in a position to lobby for things. Look at the safe boat harbour. If we were able to bring something like that to fruition, that would be fantastic for the community and the town.”

Retaining staff with local knowledge was a priority, he said.

“Staff turnover is higher than what we would like,” he said.

“Some people move to Broome to sample the lifestyle but can’t handle the environment and the weather and off they go. I would like to reduce that turnover of staff and look to employ local when we can by increasing traineeship opportunities for young people.”

When asked about rates in 2017-18, Mr Mastrolembo said the Shire’s long-term financial plan included a 2 per cent rate increase in line with inflation but that was subject to councillors adopting the forthcoming budget.

“We are just embarking on our draft financial process for next financial year, and I think staff, as well as council, are aware of the economic climate we are in, so I am sure council will be mindful as they look to set the budget for next year,” he said.

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