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What difference does it make? A WCLP reflection

21 March 2012 By Andrew Wilson-Annan

Andrew Wilson-Annan
Andrew Wilson-Annan

The first session of the 2012 Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP) was Cities of the Future, hosted by LV's partner Places Victoria. 

The expert speakers for the day were Jim Betts (Secretary, Department of Transport), Prof Rob Adams AM (Director – City Design, City of Melbourne), Kay Rundle (CEO, City of Port Phillip) and Dom Arcaro (Chief Development Officer, Places Victoria (WCLP ’08).

The seminar explored a number of issues with regard to the future of Melbourne as a burgeoning city. In particular the complex leadership and decision making required for long term planning, as well as the implications and challenges for policy makers in the following key areas:

  • Melbourne’s liveability and population growth 
  • Urban growth and the impact on local government 
  • Public transport /infrastructure 
  • Planning and design 
  • Sustainable communities

We asked 2012 participant Andrew Wilson-Annan to reflect on the experience:

What difference does it make? A reflection on the first program of WCLP 2012

This year’s program got off to a ripper, focussing on the theme of the cities of the future.  Five inspiring and diverse speakers donated their time to share their perspectives and leadership journeys in creating the present and designing the future.

Immediate thoughts varied from how this all works and come together, when do we get the answers, what do we learn and takeaway, what does all this mean for me as a leader in our modern communities?

Consideration was given to the learnings from the past, processes for engaging the communities of today and assumptions made to identify the needs of the future.  Whether those assumptions will hold, whether the behaviours of the past are valid predictors of the future remain unclear – are the current and emerging conditions that will impact future communities that well understood?  Or is there an alternative future from that of the past?  Debate ensued as we were encouraged to invest time in understanding the real problems, before diving into possible solutions for Victorian communities and the city/urban/rural interfaces.  On reflection, it made me wonder how do communities self organise and take up their role in society to own their future?

One of the fundamental aspects of the WCLP is the access to leaders and the opportunity to develop further understanding through our questions.  Good questions clearly make a big difference in increasing the chances of getting a great and insightful answer.  Frankly, we have some way to go here, we might have just progressed beyond our “L’s”, but the length of our probationary period will determine just how much we maximise this opportunity in 2012.

Andrew Wilson-Annan is a General Manager at Rural Finance Corporation and Chair of the Advisory Board at Great Place Australia.  In his spare time, Andrew is a member of the Woodend CFA Fire Brigade, and enjoys travelling with his family. You can follow Andrew on LinkedIn and Twitter @misterawa.

LV also filmed interviews with two of the speakers after their presentations. Click here to see their thoughts on leadership, cities of the future and WCLP: