Name: Joanne Abbiss
Local government: City of Armadale
Date commenced as CEO: 7 October 2019
Tell us a bit about yourself/your background
For over a decade I have been CEO of some of the fastest growing local governments in Australia, building new communities, delivering thousands of homes and stimulating major economic growth. In 2015, I won the Telstra Business Women’s Award for Government and Academia and more recently was appointed to the states’ Streamline WA’ initiative, created to find better ways of applying regulations and encouraging more investment in WA.
What was it that attracted you to the role of CEO (at Armadale)
I actually grew up in the City of Armadale, so the opportunity to be at the City and being able to make a difference is really important to me. I believe it’s the City of opportunities and with growth expected to continue well into 2050, being able to build on cultural heritage, and foster a rapidly changing and diverse area, that is unique with its mix of urban hills living and diversity of housing and lifestyle choices – what’s not attractive about that!
Can you give us a quick snapshot of your city and community?
The City is the third fastest growing local government in WA and the seventeenth in Australia offering a unique lifestyle for those who want to live work and play in an area of natural beauty. There are vineyards and orchards, green open spaces, bushland and the backdrop of the Darling Ranges.
Just 28km from the centre of Perth, the City is linked via the metropolitan rail and road network and spans an area that is equivalent of 21,000 times the size of Optus Stadium! We have 19 suburbs, 26 primary schools, 12 secondary schools and 3 libraries.
Our state of the art and award winning community facility Armadale Fitness and Aquatic Centre opened in March this year and we are also home to the world class venue for rowing and water sports at the Champion Lakes Regatta Centre.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role and what has been the biggest learning so far?
The city is a place of growth and a place of opportunity.
Imagine a City of the Future. Technology is everywhere, and digital access means that everything from government services and business processes to education and transport is connected, efficient and convenient.
An employment hub where creativity and diversity meet in the City’s centre; the community connected by an underground train station, a vibrant piazza above it filled with cafes and shops adjoining the main pedestrian mall.
Two industrial precinct offerings - Rowley Road (approximately 50% the size of Canning Vale once developed) akin to Forestdale Business Park in terms of the types of uses, providing gateways and quick access both north and south, to the Domestic and International Airports and major shipping ports of Fremantle and Kwinana.
A modern City nestled in and framed by nature - scenic parks, hills and picturesque valleys combined with state of the art and award winning recreational and sporting facilities, a good mix of public and private schools, a variety of land choices and more employment opportunities. A City that continues to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment in housing, retail, and commercial opportunities for many years to come.
Tell us about something great your city is working on and how it is delivering for your community?
I’m really excited about our Champion Centre offering. The Centre recently reopened its doors following a major redevelopment project made possible through Federal Government funding and a $4 million Lotterywest grant.
The Champion Centre is essentially a gathering place for our community and partnering agencies. The Centre offers an inclusive environment and is a vibrant multicultural hub within the City. For some – a home away from home!
The modern community facility allows us to partner with community groups, state government agencies and not for profit organisations to deliver over 60 programs and services. This includes educational vocation for certificate-based learning, driving training, and a food security program to name a few. Forums offered have been focused on suicide homelessness, domestic and family violence, mental health and alcohol.
The amazing mural within the walls of the Centre was designed by well-known artist Matt Adnate who collaborated with local artists Rohin Kickett and Bradley Kickett. The artwork brings contemporary and traditional together, a statement piece that really brings the centre to life.
It’s a gathering place for our entire community and one that we are all extremely proud of.