High Achiever - Russell Murphy Grants Project Officer, Mildura Rural City

Article image - High Achiever - Russell Murphy Grants Project Officer, Mildura Rural City

Mildura Rural City is currently working on a bold plan, valued at $88 million, to secure investments in major infrastructure projects, which would help diversify the region’s economy, address poor social indicators, create jobs and enhance community wellbeing.

A key figure in the project is Russell Murphy, the City’s Grants Project Writer, who will be instrumental in achieving the
ambitious plan.

“The current major project I am working on is without doubt, the Mildura Future Ready initiative.

“We are well on the way too, with $20.5 million obtained so far for the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct, but there’s still more work to do!”

The full scope of the project can be found on Council’s webpage mildura.vic.gov.au/Council/Major-Projects/Mildura-Future-Ready.
Mildura Rural City in the far north-west part of Victoria, is a unique region; covering over 22,000 square km, it is the largest Local Government Area (geographically) in the state.  

Murphy explained, “With a relatively small population of under 60,000, our remoteness can be challenging, however our community is very resilient and has risen to many challenges.

“Having lived here all my life, I have come to appreciate Mildura’s appeal. With our beautiful Mediterranean climate all year round we have the capacity to grow some of the best quality food in the world and our relaxed lifestyle is free from the stressors of city life.”
Murphy started in 2008 after seeing an advertisement for a new position at Council – Grants Writer.

“The newly created position was initially for a 12 month period, but I negotiated it to be ongoing, if they felt I was the right person.  

“I was drawn to the variety of services local government offered and because the role was not tied to one specific branch of council, it gave me the freedom to work cross functionally with other staff, all of whom contribute enormously to coordinating our grants success.”

He turned out to be a good fit for the role and eleven years later was nominated for recognition as a LG Focus High Achiever by Councillor Glenn Milne, who noted, “Russell has an excellent hit rate with his funding applications.”

Prior to Local Government, Murphy gained experience working for a not-for-profit employment provider for 10 years, then held a number of management roles, including Employment Services Manager, Community Development and Human Resources.  

“This variety gave me an effective skills set in tender writing for government contracts, which proved invaluable in obtaining my new role at Council.”

“Like any role, grant writing has its ups and downs.  Last year was our best year ever, with the grants team at Mildura Rural City Council receiving almost $24 million in competitive funding, however we have had some very lean years too!

“I get a buzz out of seeing our many projects and services come to fruition, from the impacts of grant funding.  

“The development of the first stages of our $222 million Mildura Riverfront (recognised in the planning scheme as a State significant project), has really activated our community’s unique connection to the Murray River.”

Murphy believes that grant allocation needs to recognise the challenges and issues facing regional and remote Local Government Areas, and he would continue ‘Council’s advocacy push to receive a fair share of funding’ from state and federal governments, through effective grant applications, election commitments and budgetary allocations.  

Murphy’s long term plan is to transition to a part time role, allowing more time to pursue his part time, professional photography business.

He added, “After 11 years, I still love my job and the variety it provides.

“I especially enjoy the great team of management and staff across all the branches I work with.

“Together, we are making a real difference, in our vision to be ‘the most liveable, people friendly community in Australia’.”