From the CEO
Free Tram Zone Extension Proposal gets a run in the Herald Sun
The Committee tabled a submission with the government in December last year calling for the extension of the Free Tram Zone to include our primary arts, sporting and convention destinations (including the Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne Museum, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and Melbourne and Olympic Park) as a simple and effective way of enhancing Melbourne’s visitability. The FTZ extension is an innovative way to use our existing assets for the greater benefit of Brand Melbourne. We were pleased to see the Herald Sun give this a run last Sunday.
Smart Cities and F1
Smart Cities and Smart Societies were top of mind in Melbourne last week, leading into one of our premier global events, the Great Race of the F1 Grand Prix (attended by a record 270 thousand people, with millions watching all around the world).
Committee for Melbourne partnered with the Cities 4.0 Summit this year, with local and international speakers contributing to a rich marketplace of experience and ideas about how smart technologies can be best used in the interests of citizens and communities. At the UDIA Congress, I participated in a panel where the audience was invited to “outsmart the smart cities experts”. It was a fun way of supporting the Congress’ overall challenge to “be curious, to disrupt and connect together to create inspiring urban cities”.
C4Cities and Regions network hosted by Melbourne
We hosted the Australia/New Zealand Committees for Cities and Regions network in Melbourne on 18 and 19 March. Committee for Melbourne has taken on the role of coordinating the 18 member C4 network.
This unique network continues to grow and thrive, reinforcing the excellent brand enjoyed by the “Committees 4” as a trusted, non-partisan forum for business, the knowledge sector, and civil society to shape the future economies and liveability of their communities. The Australian C4 network is particularly strong in the state of Victoria.
Members of the C4 network is not only an information exchange, but also an opportunity for members to collaborate in joint advocacy with government on shared priorities. The Victorian C4 network recently collaborated on advocating for better rail connections between Melbourne and the regions. Committees for Melbourne and Sydney are working together to develop a blueprint for an Eastern Seaboard megaregion to allow Australia to compete with international megaregions-a key Melbourne 4.0 strategic priority. There is also an opportunity for developing some joint platforms in the lead up to the Victorian election in November 2018.
Seize our EIC opportunity!
Last week, Committee for Melbourne partnered with Foundation Member AECOM for the launch of their latest Brilliant Cities report, ‘Transforming Melbourne and Victoria with Employment and Innovation Clusters’.
As physical spaces that bring together new, high-value businesses, researchers and related service providers, the report argues that integrating Employment and Innovation Clusters (EICs) into Melbourne’s urban form will drive the next wave of jobs, while attracting investment and underpinning the overall competitiveness of the economy.
Keynote speaker and Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, The Hon. Paul Fletcher MP set the scene by emphasising the need for agglomeration, better transport, land release and more Commonwealth/State engagement.
The Hon. Paul Fletcher MP addresses Committee for Melbourne members and guests
Tim O’Loan, who leads the Cities practice for AECOM in Victoria, spoke passionately about how Australian cities can better collaborate and provide world-class amenity to attract the talent needed to build a globally competitive innovation economy.
He emphasised that EICs will not happen by accident – but need to be carefully planned, actively nurtured, and well-funded.
“This is a highly competitive race and Melbourne needs to be bolder to win it”, said Tim.
Highlighting that AECOM’s findings align with many of our Melbourne 4.0 Strategic Needs, Committee for Melbourne CEO Martine Letts commended AECOM for creating an EIC Index, a tangible tool to assist with the design and management of successful EICs.
L to R: Tim O’Loan, Director, Cities - Melbourne, AECOM; Panellists Professor Graham Schaffer and Meredith Sussex AM; The Hon Paul Fletcher MP; James Rosenwax, Executive Director – Cities, AECOM; Martine Letts, CEO Committee for Melbourne
"A long-term polycentric approach to city planning by activating key hubs around Greater Melbourne and the regions is the key to success”, said Ms Letts.
JLL’s Regional Director, Research Strategy – Asia Pacific, Dr David Rees, kicked off our Housing Mix agenda with a fascinating Leader Thinker event on the potential for a Build-to-Rent sector in Australia, co-hosted by our Corporate members Charter Keck Cramer and Cbus Property.
Build-to-Rent properties are retained by institutional investors as rental accommodation, and are common in the Netherlands, Switzerland, US, Japan and Finland.
The model offers on-site services such as bike storage, gyms, and parcel collection that individual landlords would struggle to provide, and greater security for tenants with long-term leases. Dr Rees outlined the changing conditions and attitudes in Australia that suggest that Build-to-Rent could well be a success story here.
The discussion showed there is growing interest in establishing a Build-to-Rent sector in Australia, and many agreed that whoever moves first on this issue will have an enormous advantage. Some challenges do exist, particularly around financing and taxation, but given the right policy environment, this is something that can happen quickly to help ease housing issues.
It is also a forward-thinking approach to housing, and one that responds to the needs of young Australians who have different ideas about home ownership.
L to R: Cbus Property CEO Adrian Pozzo; Charter Keck Cramer Chairman Scott Keck; Committee for Melbourne CEO Martine Letts; JLL Regional Director of Research Strategy David Rees
West Gate Tunnel underway
The West Gate Tunnel Project is in full swing across Melbourne’s west and the largest tunnel boring machines (TBMs) in the southern hemisphere have been ordered.
Construction started in January at the project’s ‘northern portal’ site in Footscray. With site clearing almost complete, crews will soon start digging down more than seven storeys to create space to launch the two massive TBMs.
When they’re launched in 2019, the TBMs will tunnel towards the West Gate Freeway, moving nine metres per day and excavating enough rock and soil to fill the MCG.
Works have also started to widen the West Gate Freeway from eight to 12 lanes between Williamstown Road and the M80 Ring Road and make space for the project’s two southern tunnel portals.
The two southern portals will be built in the freeway to provide drivers with a vital alternative to the West Gate Bridge. There will be an entry portal near Williamstown Road and an exit portal in Altona North near the freight rail line.
Traffic barriers are in place near Williamstown Road and widening works will gradually move west between 2018 and 2022.
The project’s third and largest construction site is now being established in Yarraville. The compound will support 24/7 tunnelling operations and host around 500 workers in peak construction.
Follow their progress at westgatetunnelproject.vic.gov.au.
Global Talent Scheme
Committee for Melbourne welcomes the announcement of the Global Talent Scheme and commends the Federal Government for taking this action. The pilot scheme will begin on 1 July 2018 and aims to make it easier for big business and Australia’s technology start-up sector to hire overseas talent for highly skilled roles. It will partially replace the axed 457 visa scheme.
However, we remain concerned that the scheme is only open to big business and the start-up sector. It is vital the Government does not overlook Australia’s well-established, medium-sized businesses that have the capacity to scale up and invest abroad. These businesses must have the capacity to access foreign digital talent when the need arises.
With digital technologies infiltrating every aspect of the Australian economy, all Australian business will have to become “technology-based”, to some extent. No sector will be immune to the disruptive forces underway, and all must be given every opportunity to access the best global digital talent available.
Metro Tunnel update
During the April school holidays, buses will replace trams along much of St Kilda Road as tram tracks and traffic lanes are reconfigured as part of works to build the Metro Tunnel Project.
- Between 6-17 April:
Buses will replace all St Kilda Road tram routes excluding route 58 (3, 3a, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67 and 72) between Commercial Road and the Shrine of Remembrance.
- Between 1-17 April:
Buses will replace route 58 trams between Toorak Road West and Park Street.
Tram passengers should allow an additional 30 minutes travel time for replacement bus services and motorists should allow an extra 30 minutes to travel along this stretch of St Kilda Road.
These 24/7 works will allow traffic, trams, pedestrians and cyclists to safely keep moving around the worksite as the construction of the new underground Anzac Station continues for up to four years.
Major construction is underway and the project is on track to be complete by the end of 2025, a year ahead of schedule.
Visit the Metro Tunnel website for more information on Victoria’s biggest ever public transport project.
We are thrilled to welcome new member LaunchVic!
CEO Dr Kate Cornick is excited about future collaboration with the Committee for Melbourne:
“LaunchVic is Victoria’s startup agency. We are here to develop a globally-connected startup ecosystem by supporting startups and investors to sustainably grow and ultimately boost the Victorian economy.
Our association with Committee for Melbourne will help us to profile and achieve greater recognition for Victoria’s startup ecosystem, including the many wonderful startup success stories that are happening in our state and Melbourne. We want startups to become widely recognised as a core pillar of Victoria’s future economy.”
Another chequered flag for Melbourne
On the 90th anniversary of the first Australian Grand Prix it was exciting to see impact of the 2018 event last weekend.
There is no doubt that Melbourne shone as it delivered an outstanding major event, despite the vagaries of Melbourne weather!
It was also impressive to see the Melbourne infrastructure and community adapt to a stellar round of AFL matches, the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show and the Melbourne International Food and Wine festival, alongside the GP on one weekend.
Few Cites in the world would cope with this. Melbourne is indeed ‘uniquely eventful’ and recognised globally as such.
As we shape Melbourne’s future and pack away the Grand Prix for another year, we should celebrate our major event calendar, infrastructure, and event heritage.
Well done Melbourne.
What's on our radar
On September 11, 2001 the world stopped. On September 12, 2001 their stories moved us all. And on 20 July 2019, Tony Award winning musical 'Come From Away' will land on stage at a revamped Comedy Theatre for its Australian premiere following a record-breaking run on Broadway. The heart-warming musical tells the true story of the passengers who were unexpectedly forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland in Canada after the September 11 terrorist attacks, doubling the local population overnight. Find out more.
Entering a period of exciting redevelopment with significant growth plans, Youth Projects has just appointed Richie Goonan as its new Operations Manager, Community Health. With experience spanning the homelessness, housing, health and community services sectors, Richie will take the lead developing Youth Projects' Community Health services across Victoria. Read more.
Artificial Intelligence is already creating new career categories. Here’s three of them.
The good news is...
The snow leopard is no longer on the endangered list. It has been listed as endangered since 1972, and due to conservation efforts, experts estimate there are now between 4000 and 10,000 snow leopards in the wild. Read more.