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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

Meet VicUrban’s new Docklands chief

31 Jul 2009

Meet VicUrban’s new Docklands chief Image

After an international career spanning more than 20 years and a wide variety of departments and agencies, Docklands’ new senior government manager David Young has returned to his roots.

Mr Young’s first job after graduating in environmental science in 1986 was on an urban renewal project transforming industrial wasteland in the north-west of England.

Fast forward to 2009 and Mr Young is VicUrban’s general manager, project planning and innovation with particular responsibility for Docklands (one of six so-called VicUrban “spearhead projects”).

While Docklands is Mr Young’s major delivery focus, his division is also responsible for providing advice and expertise  to other VicUrban projects (such as Officer, Dandenong, Aurora, Maribyrnong and Werribee). This “‘cross project”’ approach is designed to encourage new ideas and thinking for both Docklands and other VicUrban communities. 

He was previously general manager, project planning and design, with special responsibility for Officer, in the Shire of Cardinia, one of the fastest growing areas of Melbourne.

The Officer development and Lend Lease’s Victoria Harbour precinct were the only two Australian developments of 16 projects to be included in the Clinton Climate Initiative’s global Climate Positive Development Program.

Before joining VicUrban only a year ago, Mr Young spent two and a half years from 2006 in the UK as executive director of a new agency called Natural England.

For the preceding 10 years, he had filled a number of senior government roles in Australia including: general manager, conservation at Parks Victoria, CEO of the Sustainable Energy Authority; and first assistance secretary of the Federal Department of Environment and Heritage
in Canberra.

Mr Young was only two years into a five-year contract with the British Government’s Natural England when he became engaged to an Australian and made the decision
to return.

“Australia is a fantastic country.  I’ve been here nearly 20 years in total.  The UK was a nice place to get some more international work experience, but Australia is home,”
he said.

With such a strong background in sustainability, Mr Young is quick to point out that he also has an MBA from Melbourne University and that business and the environment need not be at odds.

“They can be complementary,” he said.  “In fact, one of the great successes in Docklands to date has been the high-rating green buildings.  These environmental buildings are some of Australian premium commercial real estate.”

So what is his vision for Docklands?

“We really need Docklands to become part of Melbourne that Victorians are really proud of and are excited by – a part that enriches the city and that people are really talking positively about – not only in Victoria and Australia but also internationally,” he said.

Mr Young said the world’s great cities were those which put people at the heart of what they did.

“The great cities think about people.  Who’s going to live there, who’s going to work there, who’s going to visit there,” he said.

“We want to engage people – community, council and other stakeholders.  We want all these ideas that people have about Docklands out on the table.”

Mr Young said that as Docklands approached the half-way point in its development, a number of the developers were re-master-planning their precincts with a particular focus on the character of their areas.

“It’s very early days,” he said.  “I am only one week and four days into the role.  But everybody is talking to me about ideas.  What we need to do is to get people together and actually talk about some of the key initiatives we can take forward.”

“My job is to make sure that everyone has a say in the matter.  We need then to have some clarity about what is best for Docklands and what is best for Melbourne,” Mr Young said.

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Comments

  • penny minkkinen at 9:01am on 17/03/10

    Att: David Young. Our daughter, fashion design, (back from London) needs warehouse space. How great it would be if somewhere in Docklands big new high rise there was a laneway dedicated to young emerging fashion designers - they need cheap rent, light and space. We have a B and B in St Kilda West our guests are from overseas, they tend to be disappointed with Docklands lack of atmosphere

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