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Published Monday 30 March 2020
Tags:General, Media Release

Vale David Turnbull

Mitchell Shire Council CEO David Turnbull has passed away following a battle with cancer.

Mr Turnbull joined Mitchell Shire Council as its CEO in May 2016 and laid the foundations for a financially viable and professional organisation that is responsible and oversees the State’s fastest growing Local Government area.

His professional life was dedicated to helping and assisting communities. Melbourne’s northern growth corridor was heavily influenced by Mr Turnbull.

Sensible planning, jobs and economic growth, with a one job per household philosophy and a family-focus influenced his decision-making. Community values and interaction were at the forefront of his life in Local Government.

Mr Turnbull served nine years as CEO at City of Whittlesea and 12 years as Director Planning and Development. He spent more than 40 years in Local Government.

His entire career was with interface Councils and he embraced the challenges associated with that growth while maintaining township, rural and green wedge qualities.

David was regarded as an expert in his field in supporting interface councils and creating a sense of community in an ever-changing landscape. He has been responsible for overseeing significant growth across Bulla Shire (now Hume), Whittlesea City Council and Mitchell Shire as well as creating a fiscally stable and professional workforce to serve the ratepayers and community.

He had the ability to effectively build strong partnerships across all levels of government, the private development industry and community organisations - building strong relationships and achieving exceptional outcomes in the planning of communities.

He led policy change at a State and Federal Government level, including annual commitment of funds to specifically support growth interface councils.

David also was instrumental in establishing the National Growth Areas Alliance - a key advocacy body responsible for achieving greater investment in infrastructure to support sustainable communities in growth areas across Australia.

He will be remembered for his commitment to social justice, ensuring those most disadvantaged in communities were taken care of, a desire for quality services, strong community engagement, advocacy, innovation, strong financial management and, most of all, planning.

He always said the phrase ‘failure to plan… is a plan to fail’. It summed up why he was so passionate about good planning in new communities. “You only get one chance - do it properly”.

His great love was his family and he leaves behind his wife Suzane Becker, four children Tess, Tom, Alice and Angus, and son in law James.

Quotes attributable to Mitchell Shire Mayor Councillor David Lowe

We have lost a great community leader in David Turnbull

“His legacy, in the significant contribution he made to developing rapidly growing communities, cannot be overestimated and the fact that Mitchell Shire Council is leading the way in this rapid growth is testament to his guidance.

“He has been a magnificent leader of Mitchell Shire Council over the last four years. He considered his role at Mitchell a privilege and was determined that the existing and new communities were considered in every aspect of Council work.

“We, in the Council, considered working with David an even bigger privilege and his knowledge, support and guidance will be sorely missed.”

Quotes attributable to Mitchell Shire Acting CEO Mary Agostino

He always wanted to see the best out of people. He has had an amazing impact on building communities, and we can see that across our Shire as well as Whittlesea and Hume.

He was a wonderful leader who had so much pride in our people and organisation. He loved Mitchell Shire, and he had a significant impact on many staff both professionally and personally,” she said.

“His passing will have an impact on many. David was a great human being; he had all the qualities we aspire to.

“He said working at Mitchell as the CEO was a “privilege”.”

This page was last updated on 21 May 2020.