LG Professionals Australia's International Committee
The International Committee provides advice, strategies and support on the development and implementation of LG Professionals Australia's international programs. This includes forging and extending relations with affiliate organisations, providing guidance on governance issues for members and affiliates around the world, and improving the communication pathways between our organisation and affiliates and international governments, as well as with Australian federal government departments such as DFAT.
Meet our International Committee Members
Dennis Hovenden is the Chief Executive Officer of Frankston City Council, and represents the local government professional sector as a member of the Victorian LGPRO Board, a member of the National Local Government Professionals Australia Board and is the International Vice President on the ICMA Board. Dennis has more than 30 years’ local government experience in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia in both rural and metropolitan councils of varying sizes, populations, budgets and staff numbers.
Skilled in staff development, communication, strategic planning, and with a strong business development background, Dennis has tertiary qualifications in political science and legal studies together with a Graduate Diploma in Public Sector Management from Flinders University.
Gary Murphy is the General Manager of Lismore City Council.
Gary lives and approaches his work by the three Rs – respect, relationships and responsibility. He believes in directly involving the community in decision-making and fostering community partnerships to achieve better outcomes for all.
Born in South Africa, Gary is a civil engineer, and was Chief Executive of Buller District Council in New Zealand for seven years before moving to the North Coast of NSW. Since his appointment Gary has facilitated major change within the organisation, and set bold challenges to ensure Lismore City Council was a leading example of best-practice environmental and social leadership. These include:
Gary is married with two daughters and enjoys running, travelling and fine red wine.
Stephen Sykes has a diverse set of skills gained in a variety of roles in both the private and public sector, including policy and project co-ordination exploring options outside the square, which facilitates creativity and excellence in a team environment.
Stephen is on the Ministerial Advisory Committee providing support on the introduction of the container deposit scheme in NSW. And was appointed Administrator to the merged Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council, by the NSW Minister for Local Government until September 2017. Previously, Stephen was a Director at Orange City managing a variety of divisions, encompassing responsibilities from human to environmental services and governance.
Stephen chaired waste, tourism, international aid and cross-city promotion boards at state, regional and national levels. As Chair he undertook lobbying, high-level political representation, and national and international conference presentation.
Orange City Council is a sister city to Mount Hagen in Papua New Guinea; During his time at the council, Stephen was tasked with managing and coordinating this relationship. This role was largely voluntary and allowed him to grow the relationship into a strong capacity-building arrangement supporting an improved lifestyle for the Mt Hagen community as well as building skills in Orange Council, in international communities and encouraging similar twinning relationships. In 2014 he was awarded the Logohu Medal for services to PNG.
In the private sector he has established and managed a business consulting to government and previously a tourist development; with primary responsibility for broad service delivery, business oversight and marketing.
Stephen has a Masters that focused on inter-organisational collaboration critical in leading a number of regional and international collaborations, and has also had guest roles in course design and lecturing at Charles Sturt university in the undergraduate and Masters programme.
Stephen listens, is outcome focussed and passionate about improving community outcomes.
Rebecca Dalton is an experienced strategic planning and community development professional with 20 years’ experience across government and the not-for-profit sector. Her professional roles span social planning, communications, cultural development, stakeholder engagement, organisational development and corporate strategic planning.
Rebecca has significant experience in the international development sector, spending several years based in SE Asia with the Australian NGO, Australian People for Health Education and Development Abroad (APHEDA) on Australian Government-funded projects as a technical and project advisor on food security and community capacity-building projects in Cambodia, Laos and on the Thai/Burma border.
With over a decade in the local government sector, Rebecca has led community development and organisational strategy teams with a focus on supporting local communities to achieve their potential. She has worked as a trainer and facilitator, designed and delivered vocational training, facilitated community reference panels and worked with elected representatives in a political environment.
Rebecca holds a Masters of Social Policy and Planning, as well as accredited certifications in community engagement, project management and is an accredited practitioner with Human Synergistic Australia, to work within organisations to support the development of strong leaders and effective organisational cultures.
Susan Gheller has over twenty years’ experience working in federal and local government.
While employed by Townsville City Council Susan’s responsibilities included divisional change management strategies and support; strategic planning and performance measurement; divisional budget and financial management; oversight of legislative requirements and governance, information management and process and policy review, as well as customer service, records management and HR and organisational development.
One of the highlights of Susan's employment with Townsville City Council was as Coordinator of the Project Hetura, which was a capacity-building program with the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) in Port Moresby, PNG between 2008 and 2012.
The NCDC serves as the local authority in Port Moresby and is responsible for many services provided by local government in Australia. Hetura, which can be translated as ‘mateship’ in the local Moto language, was funded by AusAid through the Commonwealth Local Government Good Practice Scheme (CLGGPS).
Graham Sansom is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Until 2012 he was professor and director of the UTS Centre for Local Government and the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government. Previously he was chief executive of the Australian Local Government Association, a senior manager in local councils and state agencies, and a Canberra-based consultant working with all levels of government.
Graham has extensive experience in sub-national governance across the Asia-Pacific and in South Africa, including policy advice to governments and international organisations, development projects and program evaluations for several major donors. From 2005-2011 Graham was a board member of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and played a leadership role in the Forum’s Pacific regional program, working with senior figures from nine participating countries.
Graham was also the founding editor of the Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance (2008-2011), and in 2013 co-edited New Century Local Government: Commonwealth Perspectives.