After moving from Queensland to Grafton, and financing a start-up venture in free range pig farming, Vicky Sisson began working on the Grafton additional Clarence River crossing project. Now, Vicky is seeking to influence the roads in regional NSW, to achieve the Roads and Maritime vision that every journey matters.

Describe your role 
As manager – Network Optimisation Planning NSW at Roads and Maritime, I manage the planning around the State road network in the Hunter region, developing corridor strategies and transport studies to better guide investment in road infrastructure. 

A day in the life
I work in Grafton two days and Newcastle three days a week. In Grafton, I work closely with my team to ensure we are influencing transport investment in a logical and consistent fashion. In Newcastle, I work with the team to identify potential problems, such as areas with high crash rates, congestion and pinch points on the network, and lack of access for freight vehicles on key routes. We can then use data and an evidence based system to pin-point the right solution. 

What’s unique about your region?
I have the benefit of working across two fantastic regions – the Hunter Valley and Grafton in the Northern Rivers area. I visited Newcastle over 20 years ago and I’m overwhelmed by how it has grown. It is a vibrant city with so much going on. The port is the world leader in coal exports and there’s also a significant government investment in the Newcastle Light Rail project. The challenge is connecting the city in an efficient and effective way. The Northern Rivers is a stunning part of NSW, with the Clarence River running through it, the largest river system to meet the east coast of Australia. It brings with it a bounty of food, entertainment, and recreational pursuits in close proximity. 

Skills needed
A good head for planning, negotiation and consultation, with the ability to work with a variety of stakeholders internally and externally with community groups. Working with the community on infrastructure planning can be tricky as we need to listen and respect community views while educating them around identified needs. 

Most challenging part of your job
Loving my job in Newcastle and my farm in Grafton… I wish I could be in two places at once! Other than that, the challenge is to find the answers to two questions: ‘What is the problem?’ and ‘Is this the right solution?’ 

Most rewarding part 
I’m privileged to be part of the conversation around how we can influence the road network in a way where we bring about greater efficiencies - both in how and why we travel and what we invest in. 

Sum up your job in three words 
Challenging. Influential. Future-driven.