Committee Communiqué

Celebrating Melbourne Underground

The Committee for Melbourne’s Annual Black Tie Dinner will take place on Thursday 26 May 2016. One of our city’s premier business events, the Committee’s Annual Dinner brings together Melbourne’s most prominent thought leaders and decision makers to connect and celebrate Melbourne in a spectacular setting. This year, we will celebrate Melbourne Underground – the inner workings that keep Melbourne moving as it continues to grow. For years, the Committee has campaigned to increase the City Loop’s capacity; it is therefore particularly fitting that this year we will be dining in one of our industrial precincts’ hidden gems, Laurens Hall, which will make way for the transformational Melbourne Metro Rail Project. On the night, we will also be welcoming the Committee for Melbourne’s new CEO, Martine Letts, who commenced in the role on March 1. We are all moving parts in Melbourne’s progression and we look forward to many of you joining us on the night. Save the date, invitations are coming soon.

Melbourne Metro business case briefing

Last week, the Committee for Melbourne and other stakeholders attended the Melbourne Metro Rail Project business case briefing. With Melbourne experiencing strong population growth as well as business growth, particularly in the CBD, it is vital that we increase the inner core’s capacity. The business case concludes that the $10.9 billion project has strong economic credentials and offers the best investment pathway for expanding the inner core of Melbourne’s rail network. In fact, the project is forecast to increase the capacity of the network by an additional 39,000 passengers during peak periods. By doing so, it will ease overcrowding on a significant number of tram lines and take many cars off our congested roads. The project’s business case has a Benefit to Cost Ratio of 1.1, which increases to 1.5 when Wider Economic Benefits are taken into consideration. The Andrews Government is looking to fund the project via a $4.5 billion contribution from the Federal Government and a $1.9 billion contribution from the private sector to supplement its own $4.5 billion contribution. Whether or not the Federal Government will make a matching contribution is still unknown. What is certain though, is that this project is indispensable for Melbourne's future prosperity and liveability.

Committee for Melbourne State Budget submission

In response to the Treasurer of Victoria’s call for contributions as part of the public consultation for the 201617 State Budget, the Committee provided a submission to Tim Pallas’ office. The focal point of this submission is the need to prioritise jobs growth, housing affordability, improved infrastructure planning and strengthening our position as a centre of global business significance, while at the same time maintaining our highly-prized ‘Most Liveable City’ mantle in the context of our rapidly growing population. Outlining our four key policy pillars – Future Economy, Infrastructure, Urban Optimisation and Liveability – we highlighted how, taken together, they need to form the basis of our city’s business and community leaders’ efforts in order to ensure our continued prosperity and liveability. The call for contributions to help shape our State’s Budget provides a positive signal: engaging the community in the wider debate about Melbourne’s future direction is of vital importance.

Super computer

A new $6 million computer was recently unveiled at Monash University as part of the Multimodal Australian ScienceS Imaging and Visualisation Experiment (MASSIVE), a collaboration between Committee for Melbourne members Monash University and CSIRO, as well as the Australian Synchotron. The computer, dubbed M3, gives scientists a powerful new window into visualising complex and data rich problems, which has practical applications for our healthcare services. By way of example, for people in need of a new body part, such as a replacement joint, a bespoke part can be obtained by inputting CT scan or MRI data from the patient to a super computer. The computer can subsequently design the part that will be fabricated by a 3D printer. This development is another example of some of the cutting edge R&D that comes out of Melbourne. Our strength as a knowledge economy gives us a globally competitive advantage which we must leverage. That is why it is so important that we continue to build our research and design capabilities.

International student destination

Recent OECD figures reveal that Australia is the third largest destination for international students with 6.2 per cent of the global total. While the US and Britain top the list, Australia is the only leading destination country to have increased its share of the international student market since 2000. This is good news for our economy as international education is Victoria's largest export. It also highlights the need for managing effectively ongoing issues related to accommodation options, cost of living, cultural interactions and study-related work opportunities, which remain real concerns for visiting students. As the global competition in this highly lucrative sector increases, we will need to work harder to ensure we maintain our position as a leading destination. This is why, in August last year, the Committee for Melbourne released Melbourne ̶ a prosperous future: Worldleading international student city identifying priorities for improving Melbourne’s brand and value proposition as a destination for international students. The value that international students bring, both economically and socially, is a vital part of Melbourne’s prosperity and liveability and we need to continually strengthen our reputation as an international student destination.

Wander Victoria

Last week, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, John Eren, launched Wander Victoria, the state’s new tourism marketing campaign encouraging Melburnians and intrastate travellers to explore regional Victoria. Tourism contributes $11.4 billion to the regional economy with the intrastate market (Melbourne and Victoria) being the largest market for visitors to regional Victoria, contributing 81 per cent of overnight visitors; followed by 16 per cent from interstate visitors and (only) 3 per cent from the international market. Having vibrant regions is an important part of Melbourne's liveability. However, keeping our regions vibrant doesn’t happen by chance; it is the result of considered investment and great natural strengths. It means jobs, growth, and a stronger Victoria, which in turn, means a stronger Melbourne.

Fortnightly eNewsletter

Get the latest independent opinions and news from Committee for Melbourne.