Columns
10 years on Image

10 years on

Melbourne Water moving to Docklands
Read more >>

Away from the desk Image

Away from the desk

The little bent tree
Read more >>

Chamber update Image

Chamber update

COVID-19 and Docklands businesses
Read more >>

Docklander Image

Docklander

A staunch Docklander
Read more >>

Docklands Secrets Image

Docklands Secrets

Conflicting speeds
Read more >>

Chinese

墨尔本市长工作寄语
Read more >>

Owners' Corporation Management

Performance-based alternative solutions the key to cheaper cladding replacement costs
Read more >>

Fashion Image

Fashion

Top five street style trends
Read more >>

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

Don’t let working from home compromise your health and wellbeing
Read more >>

Letters Image

Letters

Bring on the lasers
Read more >>

Business Image

Business

Something fishy from The Espressionist
Read more >>

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

Social distancing in apartment blocks is hard to do, but necessary right now
Read more >>

Maritime

Tyranny of distance?
Read more >>

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

Full of Beans!
Read more >>

SkyPad Living Image

SkyPad Living

OC support in a time of COVID-19 - a tale of two cities …
Read more >>

Street Art Image

Street Art

Goodbye from Blender Studios
Read more >>

Sustainability

How fast is fast fashion?
Read more >>

The District

Eat your way through our most delicious hot spots
Read more >>

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

Microorganism dismantles Airbnb - will it ever recover?
Read more >>

Abby's Angle  Image

Abby's Angle

The world is a battlefield. Fight, but without exception, choose kindness
Read more >>

Editions

Editorial Comment- A frustrated whinge

01 Apr 2010

There is so much going on in Docklands at the moment … but for ordinary Joes like you and I, so little opportunity to find out about it, much less participate in it.

You can understand the developers putting up the shutters and not wanting to talk about their proposed projects, as their sole function is to maximise profits for shareholders.

But why is state and local government so hell bent on keeping the public in the dark about what’s going on in Docklands?  Where did this attitude that the public don’t deserve to know come from?

Let’s start with the State Government.  In researching our story about North Wharf on Page 5, we were told that unless we spent $5000, the Department of Treasury and Finance wouldn’t tell us what development restrictions it had put on the precinct.  And, it said, even if we forked over the money, we needed to sign a confidentiality agreement promising not to tell anyone!  In the end, we got a summary from a real estate agent.

It talks about “community” a lot but, in reality, community is an inconvenience to government.  And what about democratic governance?  What does that mean these days?

Look at the life of the Docklands Co-ordination Committee.  It was born out of the emasculation of the more significant Docklands and Major Projects Committee in 2007 and started out meeting six times a year.  It wasn’t long before this was cut to four times a year.

And the agendas have continued to shrink too.  The last meeting of this committee took about 10 minutes.  VicUrban’s two contributions to this meeting are listed in the minutes as “withdrawn”.

A request to VicUrban seeking an explanation of this took two weeks to come back with an answer that an administrative error was responsible for one report not being presented and that it was still discussing the other matter.

The City of Melbourne and VicUrban are both secretive organisations which strive to prevent public scrutiny of their activities.  They deny access to their staff and respond using meaningless weasel words.

To be fair, they are not the only ones.  Somehow it has become acceptable to deny information to the public.  Twenty five years ago in a former life, I was town hall reporter for the Sun News-Pictorial.  In those times, the media was welcome at the town hall, had its own press office and had a desk within the council chamber.  If you wanted to know something, you just asked the town clerk.

Back then it was accepted that public scrutiny was a healthy part of a democratic society.

Share on Facebook

Stay in touch with Docklands. Subscribe to FREE monthly e-Newspaper.

You must be registered with Docklands News to be able to post comments.
To register, please click here.