Thinking big, acting locally | Docklands News

For second-term councilor and deputy mayor Nicholas Reece, the ability to deliver on big ambitions at the community level is what inspires him most by working in local government.

As the father of three and husband of wife Felicity, Cr Reece is first and foremost a family man. But second, he is a self-described “workaholic.” And with the number of hats he wears in the community, it’s easy to see why.

When it comes to the city of Melbourne, Cr Reece is seen as an influential figure in the current council team, not only as deputy mayor, but as chairman of the “extremely busy” planning portfolio.

He is also the Deputy Head of the Finance, Management and Risk Portfolios and represents the Council in the Melbourne, Melbourne Action Plan Implementation (IMAP) Committee, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute Advisory Board and Melbourne Art Trust.

But away from the council it does not stop there…

Continuing its “Melbourne” theme, Cr Reece is a Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, holds an academic position as Principal and teaches at the Melbourne School of Government as his daily job.

Having also been the director of the social street magazine The Big Issue for more than a decade, he continues his passion for giving back today as the current chairman of the global men’s charity Movember – a not-for-profit organization founded of his friends here in Melbourne.

With his sense of duty to society manifested in so many ways, he said he had been brought up from a young age to appreciate the importance of social justice – something that he carries into every aspect of his role as councilor.

“I grew up in a fairly religious family, so I would characterize my father as a big influence on me,” Cr Reece said.

“He was very much part of a Catholic social justice tradition. He still works as a volunteer for St Vincent De Paul to this day, and these values ​​of community service were instilled in me from a very young age. ”

I think I’m very brought up to see that as part of who you are, you serve your family, you serve your community. So I hope when I look back on my working life that people will say he was someone who dedicated his life to the service of society. I really hope it is seen as something that defines me.

Cr Reece said his favorite part of serving as councilor in the city of Melbourne, often seen as something of a quasi-state government, was that “we are going to think big but act locally”.

It’s a mindset that may not only stem from his many community service roles, but from a more decorated story in politics than what many readers may know about …

Although he was never elected to a political office before becoming a councilor, he has spent his fair share of time working in them as a highly regarded figure of the Australian Labor Party (ALP).

Not only has he previously served as Secretary of State and campaign director for ALP’s Victorian Branch, but he was also senior adviser to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and former Victorian Prime Minister Steve Bracks and John Brumby.

Before entering the political domain, he worked as a lawyer and journalist, and he continues to hold hands in the media with regular appearances on Sky News and contributions to The Age.

This ability and desire to always “think big” has had a significant effect on his approach as councilor, and he said he was “fired up” for bringing Melbourne better than ever back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The joy I get from serving in a local government is as much as the other levels of government, the work is different, but it’s just as satisfying and rewarding,” he said.

“Melbourne is a fantastic city. The best city in the world because we have always had great ambitions for ourselves, but these ambitions are delivered through actions that are taken at the local level and so I love the fact that you can bring these things together.”

Melbourne should see itself as a global hotspot, a global leader in architecture, design and sustainability. I’m really turned on. I have never been more turned on in my life. It is my mission to help Melbourne get back on track. ”

But even though he has so far had a successful career in public service, it did not necessarily start like that…

In an astonishing admission to Docklands News, he said that although he had had many jobs during his career, there had been few more important than his very first – dressing up as a Fiberglass Smartie child in the Moomba Parade in the ’80s. erne!

While working for former chocolate company Rowntree-Hoadley, he said his promising career as a smartie parading down Swanston St was tragically cut short after his “poo brown” color was voted out in the “Great Smartie Elections” for advantage of a new blue smartie.

“It was my first taste of election defeat,” he said.

Nevertheless, the same thrift of events and passion for Melbourne will no doubt serve him well when the city recovers after COVID, and when it came to Docklands, he said he would love that the city of Melbourne had greater control over the area.

“It was a mistake made by the Victorian government, which did not have the city of Melbourne to oversee the Docklands right from the start, and I think some of the mistakes made in the early development of the Docklands were due to that you were not involved in the local government. ” he said.

“The city of Melbourne handles urban renewal and planning very well. This is our core business. We build cities for people. We are great for placemaking and activation. ”

“If we had been involved from the start, I think many of the early mistakes could have been avoided. That said, we are very involved now and we are very dedicated to making Docklands live up to its full potential. potential as Melbourne’s best waterfront suburb, and I think there’s a lot to look forward to. ” •

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