New Development Victoria Minister shy on Docklands
Sean Car & Brendan Rees
The Minister for the newly created portfolio for Development Victoria Colin Brooks has snubbed an invite to share his vision for Docklands.
Docklands News contacted the office of Mr Brooks in November in the hope to conduct an interview to find out what his new portfolio would entail and what fresh perspectives he would bring to Docklands.
Unfortunately, that request was surprisingly knocked back despite the Minister publicly expressing enthusiasm for taking up the newly created role in October, which was assigned under Premier Jacinta Allan’s new-look Victorian cabinet.
Instead, Docklands News was asked to send any enquiries via email to Mr Brooks’ office, which it did.
However, in a reply email Mr Brooks did not respond to a series of questions. Instead, Mr Brooks said, “Development Victoria is responsible for managing the government’s urban renewal of Docklands, through strong partnerships with the community, private partners and the City of Melbourne”.
He also noted that Docklands was home to 17,500 residents and 73,000 workers – information that is otherwise publicly available at Development Victoria’s and/or the City of Melbourne’s websites.
When asked about his thoughts on the revitalisation of Central Pier and Harbour Esplanade, Mr Brooks said, “We’re also listening to community on how best to revitalise Central Pier and the surrounding area into the future.”
The state government is developing a strategy to revitalise Central Pier and the adjacent waterfront following its permanent closure in 2020. The 100-year-old heritage structure is a significant landmark in Docklands with its redevelopment crucial to the future of the precinct after it was hit hard by the pandemic.
Development Victoria invited the community to share their visions for Central Pier as part of plans to revitalise the area in December last year. All findings from this engagement process are now available online in a Community Engagement Summary Report.
Other questions ignored by Mr Brooks included whether the government would place more resources into supporting the revitalisation of Docklands, and what he wanted his legacy to look like as the new Minister for Development Victoria.
Residents and business owners have continuously expressed their desire to understand the government’s vision for Docklands and how it would impact the future of the area. For now, those questions remain unanswered. •
Caption: Minister for Development Victoria Colin Brooks (left) with former Premier Daniel Andrews (centre) in August during his time serving as Minister for Housing.