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An offer too good to refuse

05 Feb 2015

An offer too good to refuse Image

For Tony De Domenico, the chance to chair Places Victoria was an offer too good to refuse.

“To have the ability to have a say in the direction of the world’s most liveable city is exciting,” Mr De Domenico said. “I really believe in the great work that Places is doing.” Mr De Domenico was appointed to the position in

November, resigning from his decade-long role as executive director of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) to take up the job.

He comes to the position with a varied history, including working in the trade service in Milan on behalf of Australia, as deputy chief minister of the ACT, deputy chancellor of LaTrobe University, serving on the board of the Prahran Market and as president of the Melbourne Italian Chamber of Commerce.

After a few months in his role as chair, Mr De Domenico says, from his perspective, Docklands has so far achieved exactly what it set out to.

“The original brief for the Docklands project was to develop the area into usable space, stimulate the economy, create jobs, retain blue-chip companies in Victoria and raise the profile of Melbourne,” Mr De Domenico said.

“Commercial success was considered the most critical factor and in fact remains part of our legislative requirements.”

“I look back now and in the 15 years it’s been going, when you look at the facts and figures, it’s achieved the goals set out by the then Victorian Government.”

Keeping in mind that Docklands is only 55 per cent complete, Mr De Domenico said there was plenty more to look forward to.

“Melbourne is lucky with Docklands, E-Gate and Fishermans Bend. We have the most amazing opportunity for redevelopment into fantastic urban spaces of any city in the world,” he said.

“We’ve got to make sure we return value for money for excess government land to the people of Victoria and we need to bring the community with us.”

Given his former role with the UDIA, an association that represents the interests of the residential property development industry, Mr De Domenico is familiar with Docklands’ developers.

“It’s comforting I think for them to know there’s someone in the chair who’s been involved in the industry and that makes it easy to deal with them I suppose,” Mr De Domenico said.

“I hope that after 10 years of being in the one job I’ve earned the respect of most of them.”

Long-term, Mr De Domenico says there are many plans for Docklands.

“We want it to be a vibrant place for both people who live here and people who don’t,” he said.

“It’s slowly but surely getting there and we’ve got some exciting things in mind to make that happen.”

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