Introducing Narelle Hobson, GIS/Grant Coordinator, Junee Shire Council
When Narelle Hobson started working for Junee Shire Council in 1996, she hadn’t even been keen on applying for the role. It was her husband that had suggested she apply for the secretarial job that had become available.
Narelle explains, “I was working for the local Jail at the time, working with Teachers and Counsellors to set programs for the inmates. I really enjoyed it but I applied anyway and 25 years on, I’m glad I did!” Narelle has gone on to enjoy a long, varied and rewarding council career at Junee.
CHANGE AND VARIETY LEADS TO LEARNING AND EVOLUTION
Being a smaller council, there’s such a variety of work on offer at Junee if you’re willing to put your hand up and give it a go. It didn’t take long for Narelle to begin taking on additional projects alongside her secretarial work.
Narelle comments, “I’ve never said ‘that’s not my job’ to anything in my life. Change and variety is an opportunity to learn something new and in Local Government you’re always learning – that’s the thing I love about it” She adds, “It’s definitely a career path that I can recommend. I’ve watched people over the last 25 years come here and really learn and expand their horizons.”
A PASSION FOR SPATIAL DATA
When Narelle began developing the Geographic Information System (GIS) for Junee, she was in the middle of completing a Cert IV in Spatial Information Systems. Spatial information is the digital connection between location, people and activities. This information can graphically illustrate what is happening to show the insight and impact of the past, the present and the likely future.
Working with a consultant Narelle gathered information and coordinated different people to bring together data that would bring the Council’s many assets to life. Narelle explains, “GIS is about much more than mapping, you can bring to life flat data sitting in a spreadsheet or tucked away in a database by integrating it with surveyed location data for the area that it relates to and present it as a digital or paper map. They say ‘a picture paints a thousand words’. By integrating the information, you get useful, easy to navigate data at your fingertips, both for the Council itself and for the public.”
The applications are endless; from understanding the Council’s kerb and gutter assets – when it was laid, where it is all located, when it will need upgrading and what materials were used to construct it, right through to mapping the local cemeteries, with the location of graves and information about the people who were laid to rest there.
Narelle comments, “Council is about the management of land and resources for and on behalf of the community – GIS brings it all together”.
WORKING AND LIVING IN JUNEE SHIRE
Narelle and her husband moved to the Riverina region in 1984. She enjoys the relaxed lifestyle and the access to facilities and the people who make it such an amazing community.
Narelle also takes pride in working in the community she lives in, commenting, “I love the feeling that I’m making a difference – it might not be obvious to the public, but if something is improved, if I have made someone’s life easier in the community as a result of a system that I have implemented, that’s extremely fulfilling.”
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