I’ve been invited to offer some valedictory thoughts on my period as Victorian Government Architect, a role I have performed over the last six years and which I am leaving in October.
As many will know, the Office of the Victorian Government Architect (OVGA) was established in 2006 by the Bracks Labor Government. John Denton was the first appointment to the role. For a period of two and a half years, with the assistance of Shelley Penn as Associate Government Architect and a small committed staff, John established the credentials of the office, winning the trust and confidence of government.
The OVGA quickly became the voice for architecture in government and received good support from the government and its home agency, the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC). When the Liberal National Coalition was elected to government in 2010 under the leadership of Ted Baillieu, a registered architect, support for the OVGA was heightened. The OVGA was converted from a branch within DPC to an administrative office, giving it more independence and profile, and the Victorian Design Review Panel (VDRP) was introduced as a fully funded pilot program.
Following Mr Baillieu’s resignation as Premier and subsequent ‘Machinery of Government’ changes, the OVGA was relocated from the central agency, DPC, to the newly formed Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure and the Minister for Planning became responsible for the OVGA in place of the Premier.