High Achievers - Ash Field Media Communications Officer, Alice Springs Town Council
Ash Field was working in digital marketing in Melbourne when he decided to make the leap to Alice Springs two years ago.
Mr Field initially took up a role with the Alice Springs Town Council’s library service, before he commenced his current 12-month contract for the role of Media and Communications Officer.
He said he has enjoyed the change of pace that the Territory offers.
“It’s never easy moving away from friends and family, but the change of lifestyle has been a dream. I’ve had fantastic opportunities here, and I no longer lose valuable time to a daily commute. The change of pace has meant that I achieve so much more each day.”
The Alice Springs Town Council – halfway between Darwin and Adelaide – covers 328 sq km (although 74 per cent of that is Crown Land and is therefore not rateable).
It is also a major service centre for about 260 remote communities across a wider region of 551,000 sq km.
“It’s known for its classic outback aesthetic, but there is so much more to Alice Springs,” Mr Field said.
“It has a strong community atmosphere, with long-term locals who care deeply about their town.
“It has a surrounding landscape that transforms at each sunset and sunrise. It has a vibrant arts and cultural scene, with loads of events every week. Living here is an unreal adventure.”
Chief Executive Officer of Alice Springs Town Council Rex Mooney nominated Mr Field as a local government ‘High Achiever’ for his performance as part of Council’s team in this year’s Australasian Management Challenge.
“It was an excellent opportunity to work closely with different people from across the organisation,” Mr Field said of the event.
“We’re proud to have been the first team from Alice Springs Town Council to win the Northern Territory regional competition.
“Local Government Professionals Australia organised a fantastic event, with tough tasks and a few surprises thrown in.
“Of course our team put in a strong effort, and represented the NT well. From all of the competing teams, I was singled out as a high performer on the day, which was an honour.”
Mr Field said working in local government has granted him an on-the-ground insight into the community.
“In this role, it’s important to have a handle on how the community might respond to news on information. As a result, despite only having lived in Alice Springs for two years, I’m very tuned into what’s going on.
“Working at Alice Springs Town Council has been a crash-course in the town’s culture, history and identity.”
A challenge, he said, is staying on top of the relatively high population turnover of Alice Springs.
“With a high proportion of residents having recently joined the community, there’s no such thing as old news.
“It heightens the need for information to be accessed easily, and for Council to promote its communication channels.”
Mr Field said it is a busy time at the moment as the Northern Territory gears up for local government elections.
“This means more scrutiny, but also more education opportunities around the organisation, its services, by-laws, and beyond.
Council has also just signed on to the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership, and is working on a new Climate Action Plan, so there’s plenty of interesting projects on the horizon.”
Mr Field said he is keeping his options open into the future.
“I’m not sure what the future holds after my contract ends next year, but I’m really enjoying the complexity of local government work. I’ve learned so much, and I plan to keep making the most out of the experience.”