Nicole Lucas: Committed to Launceston’s Northern Suburbs
Change is afoot in the northern suburbs of Launceston and Nicole is playing a key role in the transformation
Nicole Lucas has been employed by the City of Launceston to drive the My Place My Future Plan – an integrated approach to revitalising Launceston’s northern suburbs.
Growing up on Tasmania’s North West Coast, Nicole moved interstate after graduating high school. While living in Cairns, Nicole completed a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies and Sociology with the University of Tasmania via distance.
During her 10 years in Cairns, Nicole worked as a consultant for regional development organisations including Noel Pearson’s Cape York Partnership, working at the forefront of Indigenous policy and empowerment. It was in Australia’s far north that she also met her Papua New Guinea-born partner, Jack.
“I came back to Tasmania for my Auntie’s funeral and that’s when I knew it was time to come home,” says Nicole. “Walking down the street in Latrobe people stopped to say sorry for our family’s loss. The same happened in the newsagency. It was a sense of community that I never had on the mainland. So I spoke to Jack and we both decided it was time for us and our two young children to make the move.”
When Nicole and Jack arrived on Tasmanian soil in late 2017, they had no jobs and nowhere to live. It was a calculated risk, with family to fall back on during those early days before they found a suitable rental. It was about four weeks into their arrival that the Northern Suburbs Project Officer position became available. Concurrently, Jack commenced fly-in fly-out work as a diesel mechanic in Papua New Guinea but he is now based permanently in Tasmania.
As Northern Suburbs Project Officer, Nicole took the helm of the My Place My Future Plan project, which is part of the Launceston City Deal – a 10-year plan to make Launceston one of Australia’s most liveable and innovative regional cities. One of the actions in the City Deal is a Northern Suburbs Revitalisation Plan to help improve the lifestyle, social and economic outcomes for suburbs including Invermay, Mowbray, Newnham, Mayfield, Rocherlea, Waverley and Ravenswood.
Nicole and her team understand that changing people’s lives and, in some cases, generational disadvantage, requires a long-term approach.
A large part of the My Place My Future Plan is about the community highlighting its strengths and feeling that their voice is heard. One initiative involves giving a small plant or tree to residents who can choose to plant it in their own private space or a public area. Symbolic of new growth, each plant will represent the community’s evolution.
When Nicole is not working, she enjoys what the northern Tasmanian lifestyle offers her young family. One of the most attractive aspects of her position is the flexibility to work around her family commitments.
“Working four days and finishing at 3pm means that…I can get home and get dinner on, then walk along the river if I want to. I also love the community here. I can go to my local coffee shop and they call me by name and chat away. Also the seasons, I’m finding really enjoyable, they’re so pronounced after a decade in Cairns. It’s nice to be living by the seasons down here and enjoying a renewed work-life balance.”
Are you interested in making a move? Make it Tasmania.
Find out more about the My Place My Future Plan.
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