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August 09 Edition Cover

2012 is the year Docklanders all pull together

31 Jan 2012

Editorial Comment - By Shane Scanlan

Here is a new year’s resolution for Docklands – “This year we are all going to pull together.”

We just have to.

Our brand was battered in 2011. And, in a very real sense, our reputation is our most important asset.  It is the basis on which people decide to visit us. And if they stop coming, our local economy withers and dies.

Docklands has a two-speed economy.  With so many cranes on the horizon, it is clear that construction here is the standout achiever within the Victorian economy.  And yet, on the ground those awful lock-out notes that landlords stick inside the glass of failed small businesses are multiplying like in a bad dream.

All our small businesses want the same thing.  We all need visitors.  Docklands is a tourism-based economy.

So if we all want the same thing, why are we fragmented and inconsistent in our thoughts and actions?

Our chamber of commerce does an excellent job with the resources available to it.  And Destination Docklands also punches above its weight, considering the meagre funds it has available.

But why two organisations if we all want the same thing?  Imagine what could be achieved if scarce resources were pooled and shared. We might surprise ourselves.

Docklanders didn’t ask for the political structures they find themselves with.  We inherited them from the authorities who have done their best to kick-start this new and exciting suburb.

I think the time has come for Docklands to ask for something better  – something that gives us an opportunity to work collectively for the common goals that unite us.

As it so happens, the Docklands Co-ordination Committee is in the process of being reviewed by the City of Melbourne and Places Victoria.

It is being reviewed because it doesn’t add enough value.  In short, the current structure is a waste of everyone’s time.

I can envisage a replacement structure that involves Docklanders deciding Docklands’ future.  In my imagination I can see decision-makers being guided by the outcomes of debates about the issues that really matter to the Docklands pioneers who have committed themselves to this suburb.

This new committee will work if the authorities open it up to Docklanders – and not just as spectators as in the previous model, but as respected participants.

The committee could become the forum where the Docklands Chamber of Commerce, Destination Docklands and the Docklands Community Association finally come together to learn and share first-hand what others are thinking and doing.

And it could become the precursor to a new organisation which was devised, designed and driven by Docklanders who came together after they realised that working in isolation was counter-productive and was damaging to our local economy.

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Comments

  • Rose M at 1:25pm on 04/02/12

    Hear! Hear! Our identity is fragmented is confusing, eg there are a dozen separate websites. We need one organisation/website where all others can be found. Visitors? Make it easy for them to find out what's on, where and when. As we grow,one organisation where issues can be brought/discussed/dealt with would be more efficient and effective. Tks for bringing this to the fore smile
  • Iolanthe at 10:54am on 28/02/12

    This is a powerful piece of writing, which really clarifies the challenges facing the suburb. Well done!

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