Committee Communiqué

From the CEO

“The earthquake changed everything...” 

…is what all the heads of the Committees for Cities and Regions heard wherever we went during our recent visit to Christchurch for our bi-annual meeting, this time generously hosted by the Committee for Canterbury

We saw a city at a remarkable stage of its life: citizens, businesses, and institutions are all still rebuilding and regrouping after the most devastating earthquake of 22 February 2011 which destroyed around 80% of the CBD. But what we also learned is a remarkable and uplifting story of resilience, of communities coming together to recover, rebuild and create an even better city. As a ‘Committees for’ network, we were impressed with the collaboration between government, business, academia and civil society, energised by the challenges of rebuilding – in some cases from scratch – the physical, economic and psycho-social infrastructure of the city.  

The Vice Chancellor of the Canterbury University told us about the challenges of re-creating an attractive university for national and international students, many of whom had fled after the earthquake. He and his team made the most of the opportunity to modernise not only the buildings, but also the curriculum, to provide students with a pathway to careers that befit a 21st century economy.  

Agribusiness, one of Canterbury’s strengths, is supported by an inspiring bi-cultural collaboration with the Ngāi Tahu, the principal Māori iwi of the southern region of New Zealand, whose custodianship of the land helps protect and preserve it, while yielding high quality agricultural products. 

Committee for Cities and Regions heads in Canterbury

The Committees for Cities and Regions network now comprises 16 members in Australia and New Zealand. We all share a commitment to be a catalyst to improve the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of our communities and citizens through fostering collaboration between government, business, the knowledge sector and the community. This includes our leadership development programs, such as the Committee for Melbourne’s Future Focus Group.
A big thank you to Committee for Melbourne member (since 2017) McKinsey and Co…
…for facilitating our Board Annual Planning Day on 27 October. The Board focused on how we can better engage with our members to deliver our vision for Melbourne as a global city of choice due to its distinct blend of prosperity, opportunity and liveability.  

The board reaffirmed that the Committee’s priority is to help develop and advocate for ideas which ensure that Melbourne thrives in a time of great global flux, rising Asia and technological disruption which is transforming our economy and our lives. Our four policy pillars: Future Economy, Urban Optimisation, Infrastructure and Liveability as well as the nine Strategic Needs from our Melbourne 4.0 Taskforce are key vehicles for delivering on our vision.  
Finally, the Board reconfirmed its commitment to diversity – in gender balance, skills and demography – around the board table to truly reflect Melbourne’s diversity.
Happy reading and may your horse win! 

Melbourne 4.0: Airport Link - what do we need?

Melbourne’s top transport leaders and executives have called for a forward-thinking, proactive, and integrated approach to Melbourne’s airport connectivity.

Martine Letts, CEO, Committee for Melbourne and session 2 panellists 

The calls were made last week at the Committee for Melbourne’s ‘Airport link: From concept to commencement’ forum, the first to come out of our flagship Melbourne 4.0 TaskforceView the event photos.

The forum brought together expert panellists from the Committee for Melbourne’s membership and key public and private sector stakeholders, to establish the guiding principles that will shape the Committee’s submission to the state and federal governments in early December.  

Our ambition is to provide them with some helpful guidance to inform the business case they are jointly developing with co-funding from both governments. 

The guiding principles include:

1. The future is already here: We are playing catch up. An airport link must form part of a pr-active plan for the decades ahead.
2. An integrated and holistic perspective: An airport link is more than merely a transport solution connecting Melbourne Airport to the CBD; it must form part of a wider strategic transport plan to activate key metropolitan and regional hubs.  
3. Flexibility: In light of (rapid) technological advancements, all mode options must be considered. Policy and planning flexibility must be maintained. 
4. Cost-Benefit Analysis: We must ensure that the selected airport link model is the best approach to achieve benefits for the city, state, and nation, while preserving savings.  
5. Customer-centric: Any solution will need a customer-centred approach from start to end. 

We are arranging a follow-up planning workshop in late November to stress test with members the guiding principles developed so far, and to help refine the draft submission to governments.     

An airport link is one of nine Strategic Needs listed in the Committee’s Melbourne 4.0 Taskforce, covering people, connectivity and governance. The Melbourne 4.0 Taskforce was established in 2016 to prepare our city for the forces of innovation and disruption brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Read our Melbourne 4.0 report.

Leading Thinker Mike Smith: how do we get better at innovation?

Earlier this week, former ANZ Chief Executive Officer, Mike Smith OBE joined Committee for Melbourne members in another highly successful Leading Thinker Series event. 

Future Focus Group alumna Jacyl Shaw and Leading Thinker Mike Smith OBE

In his capacity as Chairman of York Butter Factory, Mike Smith discussed the concept of innovation – what it is, why it is important, and what Australia must do to become better at it. Some key takeaways included:

  • Australian business culture is very compliant, rigid, and largely risk averse. We must change culturally, and embrace innovative thinking. 
  • Any large company is going to be constrained by its own culture. Large companies must collaborate with other firms to become truly innovative.   
  • In the past, people with an average level of skill could be successful. This will not be the case going forward.  
  • Curiosity is one of the most important attributes one can have. Companies must hire curious people to their boards and executive teams.  

Mike’s analysis of the challenges and opportunities ahead reinforced the need for Melbourne to prepare for the disruption resulting from the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as outlined in the Committee’s Melbourne 4.0 report

L to R: Clive Dwyer, Director of Engagement, Committee for Melbourne; FFG alumna Jacyl Shaw and Leading Thinker Mike Smith OBE

This Leading Thinker Series event was kindly hosted by Telstra Labs. Telstra’s Director of Innovation, Ayala Domani took the time to brief attendees on Telstra’s innovation agenda, while the University of Melbourne’s Corporate Liaison Director, Research, Innovation and Commercialisation and Future Focus Group alumna, Jacyl Shaw moderated the discussion.  

Spring Racing Carnival

As the 156th running of the Melbourne Cup approaches, it seems timely to briefly reflect upon the contribution the Melbourne Cup Carnival makes to the state of Victoria.    

Known as ‘the race that stops the nation’, the Melbourne Cup forms part of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, comprising Derby Day, Melbourne Cup Day, Oaks Day and Stakes Day.

The Carnival is more than just a series of horseraces; it is a money-making behemoth that generates millions of dollars for the state of Victoria. 

The 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival delivered record economic benefits to Victoria. It contributed $427.1 million in gross economic benefit to the state; a 16.6% boost since 2012. 
Organisations operating across a range of industries, including hospitality, accommodation, tourism, and fashion, reap enormous benefits, as people flock to Melbourne to be a part of the glamour and excitement.  

Albeit intangible, another important benefit of the Melbourne Cup Carnival is the boost to Melbourne’s brand which is projected across the globe. 
In 2016, the Melbourne Cup was broadcast into 163 territories worldwide, and was live-streamed to a global audience on Twitter – the first Twitter live-streaming deal anywhere in the world outside the United States. 

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is more than just four days of horse racing. It is a world-class event which boosts our economy and cements our city’s position as the sporting capital of Australia. It must be nurtured carefully to ensure the benefits continue to be felt for years to come. 

The Committee for Melbourne welcomes Racing Victoria as a new corporate member and wishes them all the best for a successful Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

Nobel Laureate reflects on Melbourne

The Peter McCullum Cancer Centre hosted a fascinating Committee for Melbourne Leading Thinker Series event on November 1.  

Guest of honour was Nobel Laureate Dr Harold Varmus, who has had a long and distinguished career in cancer research in the United States:

  • In 1999, President Obama appointed Dr Varmus as the President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology.
  • In 2017, the Mayor of New York appointed Dr Varmus as Co-chair of the Life Sciences Advisory council – a US$500 initiative to establish New York as a global leader of life sciences in research and development.

Twenty Committee for Melbourne members engaged in a discussion that touched on the future of research as we head into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and what needs to be done to ensure innovation and curiosity are nurtured.

Leading Thinker Dr Harold Varmus and Professor Jo Trapani,  Executive Director, Cancer Research; Head, Cancer Immunology Program, Peter Mac

The forum also explored the importance of place making and precinct management as crucial catalysts for research communities. In particular, the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct was recognised and benchmarked against similar precincts in the US and Europe as a hub of world-class significance. 

The impact of restrictive visa policies, housing affordability, seamless transport, and innovative ecosystems and skills training were key discussion points, all relevant to our Melbourne 4.0 Taskforce.

Our thanks to Peter Mac’s Professor Jo Trapani and Committee for Melbourne Director, Jacqui Savage for welcoming our guest of honour.

Our fourth Annual Parliamentary Drinks

Our 2017 Annual Parliamentary Drinks event, which took place on 19 October at Parliament House, provided a rare opportunity for members of all sides of politics and senior representatives of our Foundation member organisations to gather together and discuss issues of importance to Melbourne in this informal, non-party political setting. View the event photos.

Committee for Melbourne members connect with MPs from all parties at Parliament House

Committee for Melbourne Chair, Scott Tanner, welcomed guests at our sell-out event and thanked Foundation Member GHD – who will be celebrating their 90th anniversary next year – for supporting one of the Committee’s key events. 

He also emphasised the importance of the Committee as we navigate these changing times and the fact that we can only be successful in our endeavours with the support of our members.

Scott Tanner, Chair, Committee for Melbourne addresses members and guests 

Parliamentary guests included Treasurer of Victoria, Mr Tim Pallas MP; Minister for Planning, The Hon. Richard Wynne MP; Leader of the Nationals, The Hon. Peter Walsh as well as Deputy Leader of the Opposition, The Hon. David Hodgett.

L to R: Scott Tanner, Chair, Committee for Melbourne ; Martine Letts, CEO, Committee for Melbourne; Mr Tim Pallas MP, Treasurer of Victoria 

Members took the opportunity for informal networking and conversation with parliamentarians, making our fourth Parliamentary Drinks a resounding success.

“GHD has been a member of the Committee for Melbourne since 2002 and was pleased to support the 2017 Committee for Melbourne Parliamentary drinks” -  Brett Joyce, Market Leader Victoria  

Future Focus Group

The Future Focus Group class of 2017-2018 presented draft business plans to a Project Review Panel last week. Armed with expert feedback, the teams will be refining their respective business plans in the coming weeks. 
Interviews are busily being arranged with those who have nominated participants for the Future Focus Group 2018-2019 program that commences with an Induction Weekend in February 2018.
If you are interested in exploring scope to get a nomination in for the program, please contact Future Focus Group General Manager, Matt Gaffney this week.

What's on our radar

Melbourne ranks poorly on transport efficiency amid call for congestion tax - Melbourne has ranked poorly on its transport efficiency in a global survey of cities spearheaded by member Arcadis. To find out more and hear from Arcadis, join us a our Transport Series event on Urban mobility on Wednesday 22 November.

Melbourne Australia’s top city for travellers - Australia’s sporting and cultural capital was judged Australia’s favourite city by travellers for the sixth consecutive year at the Australian Traveller People’s Choice Awards. The tourism sector is worth approximately $23 billion to the economy, and generates about 215,000 jobs. The government, and all key stakeholders, must continue to invest in Melbourne’s brand and visitability.

Virgin Group invests in Hyperloop One - Sir Richard Branson wants to make ‘airline speeds on the ground’ a reality. Virgin Group has invested an undisclosed amount in Hyperloop One, the Los Angeles based company working to commercialise the Hyperloop; a magnetically-propelled high-speed transport system. The Committee will discuss this concept as part of the eastern seaboard transit link – one of the nine Strategic Needs for Melbourne to come out of our flagship Taskforce Melbourne 4.0. 

Our vision for Melbourne:

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