From tomorrow I formally take up the reigns as the CEO at the Shire of Sandstone. Although this is in a temporary capacity, it’s another opportunity to revisit what I used to do as a full time career – CEO of a local government.
Sandstone is in the Murchison Region of Western Australia, 700kms north east of Perth. Once upon a time, Sandstone was a town of some 8,000 people prospecting for gold. These days, the town has a population of 50 with another 70 or so out on the pastoral areas.
There is a rich heritage here: two Aboriginal tribes used to criss cross the district. A brewery was operated in some small caves and openings just out of town on the way to the State Battery, much gold found and a very tight knit community. Prospectors abound. From Easter onwards the numbers swell each year as prospectors return to try their hand with Lady Luck.
Sandstone is typical of the communities you find in regional local governments – proud of their past, want adequate services for today, and are concerned about the future. Sandstone has achieved much. It is a small, tidy and well presented community. A blend of the little and big things – it only does what it can afford, but does this very well. And government funding has helped. Royalties for Regions has funded a water spray park for the community. Other funding has built a new shire office. The Alice Atkinson Caravan Park a real credit to the Shire and its community.
In the short time I have been here, the locals (elected members and my staff) have made me feel very welcome. So, onwards and upwards as we try to find this community a new CEO.