Melbourne 4.0 Taskforce

We cannot assume that our city's success will continue without preparing for 'over the horizon' challenges which are approaching with unprecedented speed.

Melbourne 4.0 report 




Our Melbourne 4.0 report outlines four plausible scenarios for Melbourne in 2030 to prepare our city for the forces of innovation and disruption brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

If we keep progressing with ‘business as usual’ the future of our city may not be all that bright.

Read the Melbourne 4.0 summary report.

Read the Melbourne 4.0 report, if you would like to read the detailed exposition of each of our four scenarios for Melbourne in 2030.

Read our latest Melbourne 4.0 coverage: 'Megaregions vision as taskforce pushes inter-city fast train link', The Australian 

Harnessing the knowledge and insight from our cross-sector membership, the Melbourne 4.0 Taskforce used scenario planning, a method particularly suited to formulating robust and long-term strategies in an uncertain world.

The Taskorce generated four plausible futures for our city which, in turn, produced a set of responses, or Strategic Needs, to the challenges and opportunities the scenarios uncovered. 

Four possible futures for our city


The four plausible scenarios for Melbourne’s future are:

Scenario 1: Urban Rust
In scenario 1, the world has seen dramatic technological change. Asia’s systems are now under severe strain, while the West stabilises and innovates. Melbourne becomes a complacent technology-taker and our talent migrates to thriving hubs in the West. Our economy dips in and out of recession as our Asian trading partners become inward looking.

Scenario 2: Asia’s Bargain Basement
In scenario 2, the East drives the Fourth Industrial Revolution, while the West has not recovered from polarisation and isolation. Australia has become a second-tier economy on the edge of a thriving Asia. Melbourne’s workforce is not sufficiently competitive and only the traditional sectors are keeping the economy afloat.

Scenario 3: Metropolitan Misery
In scenario 3, after a brief period of protectionism, Western cooperation re-emerges. Western protectionism exposed structural flaws in Asia’s systems which severely slowed growth in Melbourne’s key markets, fuelling a sustained recession. Technology failures and security issues also slow global technological progress.

Scenario 4: Riding the Wave
In scenario 4, polarisation has crippled the West, while the East builds for long-term success. Fearing social instability, technological disruption is regulated globally – the Fourth Industrial Revolution has slowed to an evolution. Melbourne coasts on its traditional strengths, but growth puts the city’s infrastructure and housing markets under relentless strain.

We must act now!


The nine strategic needs the Committee for Melbourne will be championing are:

Future skills
Innovative ecosystem
Housing mix

Competitive internet
Airport link
Eastern seaboard transit link

Metropolitan collaboration
Eastern seaboard collaboration
Digital capability


These Strategic Needs will guide the Committee’s future agenda, with a series of tangible policy initiatives to follow.

These initiatives are designed to prepare Melbourne for the unprecedented disruption facing our future economy and society out to 2030.

About Melbourne 4.0

Our Melbourne 4.0 Taskforce was established in September 2016 to prepare Greater Melbourne for the accelerating speed of innovation and disruption that has catapulted us to the early stages of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

A series of workshops identified four scenarios for Melbourne’s future economy built on two key change drivers out to 2030 – technological change and geopolitical shifts – as well as nine Strategic Needs to ensure our city can continue to remain one of international significance.

Four scenarios plotted against the two key change drivers


 Thought leadership pieces

'Yarra Valley Water's contribution to MELBOURNE 4.0' - Pat McCafferty
Managing Director, Yarra Valley Water

'Melbourne the hub of technology innovation' - Scott Tanner
Chair, Committee for Melbourne and Chief Executive, Bank of Melbourne

'What’s needed to prevent a digital divide? Power and money.' - Melanie Raymond
Chair, Youth Projects

'Flexible executive roles the key to securing Melbourne’s future as a global city of choice' - Jo Fisher
Managing Director, Jo Fisher Executive

'Design Capital? Reasons why Melbourne should assume the title…' - Professor Paul Gough
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University

'How can innovation and technology assist in making Melbourne the arts, culture and design destination?' - Tony Ellwood
Director, National Gallery of Victoria

'Creating globally connected, free thinking and creative behavioural spaces (Retaining the next gen artist and audience)' - Andrew Nicol
Principal, Arts and Culture Leader Australasia, Arup

'The role of technology and innovation in improving transport and traffic management' - Harry Wijers
Managing Director, Transdev Melbourne  

Key questions

Recognising the profound and unpredictable changes that will shape Melbourne’s future economy, the Committee for Melbourne has set up its MELBOURNE 4.0 Taskforce to:

1. Develop a clear understanding of – and shared language around – the future economic environment of Melbourne, across the city’s key stakeholder; and

2. Provide credibly informed policy programs to help our city and our member organisations prepare for the ‘over the horizon’ challenges and opportunities.

The taskforce will employ the vast collective knowledge and insight of the Committee’s diverse membership base to utilise a comprehensive City Strategy Model.

The process of the City Strategy Model can be broken down into a number of steps that cover the following key stages:

1.    Business model analysis
Creating a ‘heat map’ of Melbourne’s value proposition.

2.    External influences
Identifying the external trends and realities that are outside our control, but critically impact Melbourne’s future economy.

3.    Scenarios
We cannot predict the future, but we can credibly explore the range of possible futures by developing scenarios arising out of the external influences.

4.    Strategic options
The scenarios enable us to develop credibly informed policy options for our city, creating the next policy programs to help Melbourne’s economy thrive well into the future.

For over 30 years, the Committee for Melbourne’s influence has been built on the breadth, depth and calibre of our membership base and it is this collective strength that has been a major driving force behind the development and progression of our city.

Over the course of the MELBOURNE 4.0 Taskforce process, we will be organising workshops and conducting interviews to capture the knowledge and expertise of our diverse membership.

As a member of the Committee, you will be a key participant of – and active contributor to – the MELBOURNE 4.0 Taskforce. Through your participation, you and your organisation will be intimately involved in each stage of the process.

This is a fantastic opportunity to make a meaningful difference and help shape our city’s future.

To register for the MELBOURNE 4.0 Taskforce, click here.

"Digital is the main reason just over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000."

Pierre Nanterme, CEO of Accenture