Committee Communiqué

From the CEO

As we celebrate Melbourne's 183rd birthday today and also remember the impact on European arrival on the people of the Kulin Nation, I would like to highlight some key announcements from this past fortnight. 

New Prime Minister

Australia has a new Prime Minister and a new Ministry. We congratulate The Hon Scott Morrison on his assumption of the Prime Ministership as Australia navigates the many domestic and international issues we face.

We look forward in the future to engaging with the Prime Minister and his ministry on their vision for Australia’s future in a rapidly changing world, and how we can ensure Melbourne and Melburnians will play their part and benefit.  

Rev Ric Holland steps down from our Committee Board

Committee for Melbourne Director Ric Holland, recently stepped down from our Board.
Ric has been a valued member of the Board since 2013, and a committed advocate for the Not-for-Profit Sector, leading the push to establish the Committee’s Not-for-Profit Taskforce last year.
As CEO of the Melbourne City Mission and then as Executive Minister and Director of Community Engagement at St Michael’s on Collins, Ric has been a highly effective and articulate advocate for ensuring that Melbourne’s prized liveability includes the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community. He reminded the Board that sitting alongside economic policy and development should always be social policy.
On behalf of the Board and the Committee Secretariat, I would like to thank Ric most sincerely for his expert contribution to the Committee, his inspiring advocacy for the Not-for-Profit sector and wish him all the best for the future.
We will have an opportunity to formally acknowledge Ric’s contribution at our AGM on 15 November. 
C2 cancels its Melbourne Conference

On 24 August, C2 International announced the cancellation of its C2 Melbourne business conference scheduled for October. In its media release, C2 said that the difficult decision was taken “after careful consideration and extensive exploration of options to make the event viable and that a series of circumstances outside of their control made it impossible for them to execute on the creation of the event". President and CEO of C2 International, Richard St Pierre said that C2 International had been “incredibly lucky to have had the support of a talented and dedicated group of individuals in Australia, and we are grateful for the local business community who supported our bold vision”.

Committee for Melbourne thanks the C2 team for their enthusiasm and their collaboration with Committee for Melbourne. As a symbol of innovation, we regret that Melbourne was not able to tap into the opportunities that this exciting new format business event would have offered.  

Happy reading!

An underground suburban rail loop for Melbourne?

On Tuesday 28 August, the Andrews Labor Government announced that they will build an underground suburban rail loop; described by the government as the biggest transformation of public transport in Australian history. 

The proposed development would form a 90-kilometre ring through Melbourne’s suburbs, better-connecting people to key employment nodes, and significantly reducing pressure on our existing rail network and our major roads. 

Committee for Melbourne CEO, Martine Letts, attended a briefing by Premier Daniel Andrews, and Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan, and noted that it is a bold, ambitious, city-shaping initiative. We commend the government for its long-term, bold vision.

It is important that we stay focused on this long-term project's development while addressing the immediate need for an integrated transport system that can service a population that now exceeds five million people.

It is also important that Infrastructure Victoria and Infrastructure Australia now be consulted to ensure integrated planning and a strategic, non-political approach to financing and business modeling. 

We want brilliant people coming to Australia

"We want brilliant people coming to this country!": this succinct, powerful message was echoed loud and clear at our recent Skilled Migration forum, held on 16 August and hosted by PwC Australia.
PwC Partner Carter Bovard, who leads PwC Australia’s immigration practice, discussed the challenges Australia faces in attracting highly skilled individuals following the replacement of the 457 visa with the TSS visa, and the subsequent uncertainty surrounding Australia’s skilled migration program.

PwC Partner Carter Bovard 

Following his keynote presentation, BioMelbourne Network CEO Dr Krystal EvansTelstra Future Workforce Strategy Consultant Komal Narayan and Fisher Leadership Managing Partner Liz Jones, joined Carter on stage offering deep insights into how changes to our Skilled Migration Program are hurting entire economic sectors, and how Australia, in order to stay competitive in the new economy must position itself as the destination of choice for highly skilled, mobile talent.

Committee for Melbourne CEO Martine Letts and panellists

Based on the discussion, comments, and feedback offered at this event, the Committee will be submitting to the Commonwealth Government an unsolicited submission outlining our concerns surrounding changes to Australia’s Skilled Migration Program. For more information, please get in touch.

View the event photos.

The 'Docklands Deficit' by Cr Watts

Melbourne has effectively turned its back on its rich maritime trade heritage. Melbourne Councillor Dr. Jackie Watts, fears that unless steps are taken urgently to recognise, sustain and celebrate Melbourne’s maritime trade heritage, it will be lost. 

Initially prompted by a call for help from Melbourne’s Heritage Fleet, seeking the reassurance of a permanent berth in Victoria Harbour as their Collins Wharf berth faced redevelopment, Jackie began to investigate Docklands’ situation further. She was dismayed to find that Melbourne, had generally failed to recognise the inherent value of its rich maritime heritage. 

In the push to 'construct' on the prime waterfront of Docklands, she found a persistent disinclination by authorities to acknowledge the inherent cultural value of Docklands’ maritime legacy. Unlike London, for example, Melbourne’s Docklands development ‘vision’ lacked recognition of its significant maritime trade heritage. 

Jackie’s research indicates an urgent need for State, local councils, and the development sector to collaborate and address this Docklands ‘deficit’ before it’s too late.  All is not lost. Melbourne remains Australia’s busiest port and fortunately Melbourne’s maritime legacy, our maritime artefacts, archives and maritime structures still exist, though geographically dispersed for the moment. 

A Maritime Network ‘branding’ approach around a new Docklands Museum would also underpin our maritime legacy and Docklands activation.

Although Jackie’s research has no official status within the City of Melbourne, as Chair of Knowledge City, and Deputy Chair of People City, she noted reference to pertinent Docklands’ matters in Council's Annual Plan 2018-2019 directed at a more accessible and lively Docklands in the future.

Any Committee for Melbourne member interested in Melbourne’s maritime trade heritage or obtaining Jackie’s full report, should email or call 0400 305 323. 

Let's be a liveable and learning city

Last week, Committee for Melbourne partnered with Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) on its Melbourne 4.0 forum on Future skills.

Hosted by EY Partner, Gérald Marion, the event questioned how Melbourne can become a city that promotes life-long learning as core to its cultural and civic identity.

The morning started with two panels moderated by FYA Board Drector Tony Mackay AM. The first panel included Melbourne and Olympic Parks' Brian Morris, Malthouse Theatre's Sarah Neal, The Australian Ballet's Libby Christie and the State Library of Victoria's Kate Torney who discussed what Melbourne can learn from its leading sports, arts and culture and learning precincts.

Panel 1

The cluster approach was acknowledged as a key strength of Melbourne’s leading precincts. The panel further discussed the role of digital as an enabler rather than a destroyer of civic institutions. For example, the panel highligted how digital can be used to allow unprecedented access to behind the scene tours and broaden appeal of content from live venues.

The second panel, comprised of MGS Architect's Rob McGauren, EY's Gérald Marion and Neighbourlytics' Lucinda Hartley presented global examples of successful precincts such as 22@Barcelona, which uses five knowledge-intensive clusters to attract local and international communities. The panel noted that it is important to comprehend that changes to Melbourne today will shape the future city of tomorrow.

Panel 2

A workshop from Ylab Associates gave participants an opportunity to condense their ideas into key guiding principles which included:
using digital as a learning multiplier
promoting the creation of an ecosystem of learning entanglement  in Greater Melbourne
looking at new measures to benchmark learning in Melbourne
A Steering Committee comprised of members will meet on the 12 October to plan the next steps.

If you would like to be involved please contact our Policy and Research team.  

View the event photos. 

Club Melbourne brings the world to our city

The Club Melbourne Ambassador Program celebrated its 13th anniversary and another outstanding year at its annual dinner on Monday 13 August in our member Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre's (MCEC) new space.

Since the Program’s inception in 2005, Club Melbourne has secured 131 international conferences that have delivered an economic impact worth more than $840 million, with support and collaboration from the Victorian State Government and the Melbourne Convention Bureau.
The Club Melbourne Ambassador Program includes 123 eminent Victorians from diverse disciples of medicine, science and environment, technology, engineering, business and education, with only a select few invited to join the program each year. These leading Melburnians are committed to bringing the world to their city to experience world class events, connect with industry leaders and bring thought leadership into the local community.

All highly regarded and influential Melburnians within their respective fields, the five new Ambassadors officially inducted into the Program on the evening were welcomed by Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust Chairman, The Hon. John Brumby AO. 

The Hon. John Brumby AO
Photo: Club Melbourne 

In a first for the Program, the 2018 Club Melbourne Fellowship judging resulted in a unanimous tie, awarding Co-Fellows Dr Eric Chow and Dr Tamsyn Van Rheenen a $10,000 Fellowship each to support their attendance at international conferences to enable new, life changing opportunities for their research projects. 


Club Melbourne Ambassasors and Co-FellowsThe Hon. John Brumby AO and MCEC CEO Peter King
Photo: Club Melbourne 

The evening was a spectacular reminder of what can happen when the academic, corporate and government sectors work together.

Photo: Club Melbourne 

Support out city's artists by decorating your home like Lord Mayor

The Melbourne Prize Trust was established as an Income Tax Exempt Charity and Deductible Gift Recipient in 2004 to provide opportunities for artists, recognise and reward excellence and talent, inspire creative development and enrich public life.

It runs the Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture, the Melbourne Prize for Literature and the Melbourne Prize for Music annually in a three-year cycle and has, to date, made available approximately $1.5 million to Victorian artists. The home of the annual Melbourne Prize is Federation Square, where an exhibition of finalists, according to each cycle, is held each November. 

Founder of the Trust and Future Focus Group alumnus, Simon Warrender, announced the annual Melbourne Prize following the unveiling of his Future Focus Group project - a bronze sculpture of the main characters from Norman Lindsay's The Magic Pudding, as a centrepiece of a CBD-based children's garden precinct. 

The Magic Pudding as a centrepiece of the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens

Founded with assistance from Committee for Melbourne, the Trust funds the annual Melbourne Prize through cross-sector partnerships from the government and private sectors, and private patrons. 

Committee for Melbourne backs all endeavours that contribute to Melbourne as a global and vibrant arts and culture destination and supports the work of the Trust by awarding the winners of its annual Melbourne Achiever Award a miniature Magic Pudding sculpture.

L: 2018 Melbourne Achiever Award (organisation) recipient Melbourne and Olympic Parks represented by Chief Executive Brian Morris; R: 2018 Melbourne Achiever Award (individual) Naomi Milgrom AO

In honour of the 100th anniversary of the classic Australian storybook, a special edition of the miniatures are available exclusively through Readings in Melbourne. Proceeds from the sale of the miniatures contribute to the Melbourne Prize Trust and annual Melbourne Prize. Order yours now, Lord Mayor Sally Capp proudly displays hers in her living room! [paywall].

You can also help support our city's artists by making a tax-deductible donation to the Melbourne Prize Trust, email or call on +61 3 9667 8199.

We are falling behind

The Digital Innovation Festival is buzzing all around Melbourne and the Committee for Melbourne has been right in the thick of it.

AI Digital Summit
A featured partner of the Digital Innovation Festival, the AI Digital Summit was held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on 28 August bringing together industry leaders to better understand the current state of Artificial intelligence. 

The Summit provided a range of keynote speakers focusing on how businesses and corporations can adapt to the rapidly changing environment and improve their adaptability and productivity while addressing the complexities of AI.

Committee for Melbourne CEO Martine Letts sat on one of the panels with DEDJTR's Kathy Coultas and Data 61 (CSIRO)'s Cheryl George to discuss the adoption of a 'whole of government - whole of community' approach to AI and the steps that need to be taken to ensure the community understand the significance of AI and the pace of change.

Panellists at the AI Digital Summit

Pearcey Day at the Digital Innovation Festival
Later that afternoon at 'Pearcey Day at the Digital Innovation Festival', speakers celebrated Australia and Melbourne’s proud history of ICT innovation and discussed how we can use these skills to thrive in an environment totally defined by rapid and radical technological change.

Martine Letts as well as CEO of Innovation and Science Australia, Charlie Day and founder of the Australian Digital Transformation Agency, Paul Shetler all came to the consensus that Melbourne and Australia were falling behind, through complacency and lack of courageous leadership in board rooms and in government, where risk aversion and short-term interests and targets still dominate.  

For more information on the Committee's work on AI click here.

Welcome City of Greater Dandenong

We would like to welcome our new Corporate member: City of Greater Dandenong 

We asked Group Manager Paul Kearsley why City of Greater Dandenong decided to join Committee for Melbourne:

"The Committee for Melbourne provides Greater Dandenong City Council with an important link to some of the most critical decision makers, influencers and key issues. It provides us with the opportunity to attend special events, learn, share information and connect with others who are intent on ensuring the very best future for Victoria as a whole."

What's on our radar

Guide Dogs Victoria 2018 Graduation Day - Last Saturday, Committee for Melbourne member Guide Dogs Victoria (GDV) held its Graduation Day for the Class of 2018 with over 70 dogs qualifying to work in the community including as guide dogs and therapy dogs. The day celebrated independence and the efforts of all those who contributed to the achievement - it 'takes a village', two years and more than $50,000 to breed, raise, train and match a suitable guide dog with a person with low vision. The day featured many heartwarming videos which are now available online on GDV's Youtube channel.

Is Asia’s rise unstoppable? Perhaps not - Six years have passed since the Gilliard Government published Australia in the Asian Century; a White Paper mapping out a path for Australia to thrive in a global environment dominated by Asia’s rise, which it describes as “unstoppable”. But is it? Asian Century: on a Knife-edge, a recently released book from the Director of the Asian Century Institute, John West, challenges the common belief that the region’s continued high growth is inevitable. What happens in Asia will have a fundamental impact on Melbourne, and Australia. 

The good news is...

A new 'floating park' made out of recycled plastic waste has popped up in the Netherlands - A fascinating new public space made out of recycled materials just launched in Rotterdam - and it's built over water. Rotterdam's Floating Park is made out of plastic recycled from Rotterdam's waterways for the benefit of its residents and the aquatic ecosystem on which they drift.

Our vision for Melbourne:

Global city of choice for people and organisations, due to its distinct blend of prosperity, opportunity and liveability.