Martin Hawson endorsed as new Mildura Rural City Council CEO
Published on 14 April 2022
Martin Hawson, an experienced executive with more than 20 years at the highest levels of local government, is Mildura Rural City Council's first locally born and raised Chief Executive Officer in more than two decades after he was endorsed at a Special Council meeting last night.
Mr Hawson has served as Acting Chief Executive Officer since August last year and was previously General Manager Community for 20 years, overseeing crucial services, major projects and key Council initiatives.
Born and raised in Red Cliffs and a Sunraysia resident his entire life, key themes throughout Mr Hawson's local government career have been improving community well-being, particularly for disadvantaged groups, and creating strategies for the region to grow and prosper.
One of the more recent examples is the Mildura Future Ready advocacy and funding strategy - aimed at attracting major government funding for infrastructure projects that will improve the social and economic well-being of the Sunraysia community.
Mr Hawson was the architect of this ongoing strategy, which in its first four years attracted an unprecedented level of government investment to the region - more than $40 million.
This allowed one of the region’s long-held goals of a national standard sporting facility, the Mildura Sporting Precinct (MSP), to get under way, which is now in its second stage of construction and already delivering on its objectives since the completion of Stage 1.
It’s also allowed development of the second stage of the Riverfront Redevelopment – centred on the Powerhouse Precinct, which is now under way and will complete the transformation of Mildura’s riverfront later this year.
Mildura Mayor Liam Wood said the combination of a long-held commitment to the Sunraysia region, and a demonstrated ability to plan for the community’s best interests, made him the ideal person to lead Council.
“What stands out for me is Martin’s continued dedication to our region over a long period. We see senior executives from different areas come and go but Martin has a commitment to this region,” Cr Wood said.
“During his time as Acting CEO and General Manager Community before that, he’s demonstrated a focus on long-term planning and strategies for our community. He’s not playing the short game, which will set us up for the future, which is exactly what we need.
“I think you’ll see some fairly quick changes for the positive, as CEO he now has the opportunity to put some of the larger-scale ideas I’m sure he’s had in mind before now into action.
“In the short time I’ve worked with him as Mayor I think we’ve complemented each other well and played to each other’s strengths and I look forward to continue working with him.”
Mr Hawson said maintaining Council’s recent strong record for attracting large-scale government funding, and ensuring the organisation was resilient and prepared for any future challenges were among his priorities.
“Navigating funding pathways is critical for our region moving forwards,” he said.
“This requires the capability to not only propose projects, but bring them to fruition.
“We also need to build the capacity of the organisation to respond to future challenges, as well as deliver key strategies and initiatives, which is critical for our community.
Mr Hawson said he saw the CEO position as much more than leading Mildura Rural City Council as an organisation, it was about partnerships.
“Working in partnership with community is something I am passionate about and is a proven formula for getting things done,” he said.
“The CEO role plays a critical link between community and Council, and creating more linkages, particularly post-pandemic, will certainly be a key focus.
“This sense of collaboration, working as part of a team, is also vitally important in my role working with our staff. Nothing happens without teamwork, which is why our dedicated staff are so vital to making any vision or plans we have for our community a reality. This will be another key focus for me, making sure everything we do is underpinned by a sense of teamwork and collaboration.
“I am very proud to lead the organisation I’ve spent the majority of my career with, and look forward to making a real difference in fostering partnerships, supporting staff and achieving positive outcomes.
“I look forward to working with our community, Councillors and staff to achieve an exciting future for our region.
With qualifications in the health and education sectors, including a Masters in Health Administration and Graduate Diploma in Health Science, ensuring the health and well-being of the Sunraysia community has remained a consistent focus of Mr Hawson’s career.
As General Manager Community Mr Hawson developed integrated approaches to address disadvantage by addressing the underlying causes rather than the symptoms, ultimately aimed at improving the overall standard of living and well-being for the local community.
Mr Hawson has also played major roles in supporting the community through some of the region’s biggest crisis events over more than a decade as Municipal Recovery Manager.
Most recently, through several COVID-19 outbreaks, Mr Hawson was a key member of the Northern Mallee Incident Management Committee, which successfully navigated the Sunraysia community through some of the most difficult stages of the pandemic.