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Docklands gets a tick from parent

28 Aug 2012

Docklands gets a tick from parent Image

Former major projects minister Mark Birrell thinks Docklands is a work in progress, but one that so far is living up to his expectations.

“I think Docklands has developed into a great addition to the city and has developed a community feel, but there is still work to be done,” Mr Birrell said.

Mr Birrell was the minister for major projects between 1992 and 1996 and said his role was to get Docklands moving.

In last month’s Docklands News, former premier Jeff Kennett credited Mr Birrell with the inspiration for Docklands.

Mr Birrel said he used to cycle through Docklands before it became an urban renewal project.

He said at the time he could see the potential for a new waterfront for the city and for creating housing options that hadn’t previously been thought of.

However, he doesn’t take all the credit for kick-starting the project.

“There are a lot of parents of Docklands. I would give a huge amount of credit to Eric Mayers, strong support from Steve Howard, the architectural community and town planners from Melbourne and Monash universities,” Mr Birrell said.

Likewise, Mr Birrell also gives credit to successive governments.

“I give credit to successive governments who have stuck with it. It has enjoyed bi-partisan support,” Mr Birrell said.

Mr Birrel said in the 15 years since construction began we’ve achieved a lot.  However, there have been mistakes along the way.

“With the Docklands Authority and the first chairperson Eric Mayer it was a very personal commitment to ensuring the success of Docklands,” he said.

“I think that when the Docklands Authority wound up about eight years ago and changed into VicUrban the detailed focus on Docklands was reduced, which was a pity because to create a community you need a lot of attention to things like transport and community services,” Mr Birrell said.

“We should learn a lesson from this that Docklands is a very large addition to the city and requires full-time custodial attention.”

Mr Birrell believes this was now being resolved with more focus on community services which he said were critical to the area.

So what does Mr Birrell think of Docklands now?

“I look at it as having a 30-year period of growth so, given that, I’ll be able to pass judgement in a decade,” Mr Birrell said.

At this stage though, Docklands was evolving well, he said.

“When we first started the only thing blowing through Docklands was waste. The transformation of a disused and abandoned area to a vibrant community is a great achievement.”

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Comments

  • Andrew at 2:48pm on 29/08/12

    Mr Birrell speaks of "bipartisanship" in Docklands since the early 1990's. We know that the old parties have handballed the hard decisions and work constantly for years. Changing authorities and responsibility & lack of community input is their legacy. We are tired of the "bipartisan" approach - and want action - not empty words. Mr Birrell's words are still 'blowing' through Docklands.

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