Public Sector Unearthed – EP#7: The story of Fitzroy Crossing community centre with Ewa Griffiths and Zara Nehow

In episode 7 of the Public Sector Unearthed podcast, we hear the success story of the Fitzroy Crossing service centre’s redevelopment from Ewa Griffiths and Zara Nehow, who were at the core of this initiative. Their innovative approach involved creating a co-designed space that respects local needs and incorporates elements reflecting cultural aspects and Indigenous arts. This earned them the 2023 IPAA ACT Spirit of Service Awards in the Community Engagement category.

Ewa, the director of face-to-face service transformation at Services Australia, discusses the broader vision and strategic approach behind the redesign of the Fitzroy Crossing service center. She talks us through how the plan for the redesign came about and highlights lessons for future service center redesigns.

Meanwhile, Zara, who is the service centre manager at Fitzroy Crossing with Services Australia hones in on community connection and takes us on a virtual walkthrough of the service centre. She also talks candidly about the impact of the 2023 floods on the newly opened center and how it has affected the redesign and the community.

This episode’s unearthed wisdom: Empathy, collaboration, and a deep respect for cultural heritage are the cornerstones of creating spaces where communities can truly connect.


Ewa Griffiths

Ewa graduated from the University of Tasmania with a degree in social work and spent her early professional years engaged in community development and community-based servicing roles in far northern Queensland. A significant career transition led her to join the public service about 25 years ago. Since then, she has held numerous service delivery positions, more recently moving into service design innovation and project management.

Zara Nehow

Zara has been part of the Department of Social Services since 2003, working across various divisions including smart centre, face to face, and remote service delivery operations team. Over her 20 years with the department, Zara has been fortunate to have had many opportunities, for which she is grateful, enriching her professional journey with both lived and learned experiences.