Attracting young, educated professionals to rural areas has traditionally been an arduous undertaking, but with excitement around the Inland Rail and other economic infrastructure firmly on the agenda, Moree Plains Shire Council is quickly becoming an employer of choice.
For Shaun Yong, council's newest recruit who joins the planning and community development team, Moree provided career and social opportunities too good to pass up.
With a Bachelor of Environmental Science and a Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning, Shaun has traded inner city living in Brisbane for a more varied career trajectory on the banks of the Mehi River.
Having come from a family where both parents are engineers, and with a focus on career growth and the end goal of becoming a strategic planner; Shaun knew Local Government experience was imperative.
"I'd been working in a private planning firm in Queensland for three years and knew it was important to understand how local government operates," he said.
"Gaining experience in the NSW planning system, the public sector and a community with a proud Aboriginal culture was a major drawcard to taking the position with MPSC."
Working for council has presented Shaun with a unique set of opportunities that his experience in the private sector has been unable to match; such as earlier exposure to a broader role, easier access to higher levels of management and a more flexible working environment.
"There is a higher degree of autonomy and responsibility, new challenges and opportunities that working for council provides," he said.
"You can't beat the flexibility and being able to take a long weekend every few weeks to get home and see the family."
For Shaun, a firm believer in an informal community based and consultative approach to urban planning; working for Local Government in a small shire like Moree represents the prospect of working directly with residents and shaping the future of the region together.
"I get the impression that Moree is very community-focused, and residents take great pride in their town," he said.
"I believe in creating a more consultative process and closing the gap between the community and council officers so everyone can have a say and enjoy the space where they live, work and play."
The adventurous spirit, which landed Shaun in Moree, can be easily transferred to his philosophy on travel.
Having already discovered Lightening Ridge, Dubbo, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, Tamworth and Sydney since relocating in January, Shaun believes a road trip is a perfect way to experience the local surrounds.
"Moree is a great central hub to move around and see other parts of Australia," he said,
Council currently has a number of other positions available which can be viewed on its website https://www.mpsc.nsw.gov.au/index.php/want-a-job/positions-vacant. For more information, follow the web link or contact council's human resource department on (02) 6757 3222.