21.04.2022A dialogue on cities – meeting the Shadow Minister Mr Andrew Giles MP

There is no doubt Melbourne has faced significant challenges over the past couple of years, with a health pandemic, natural disasters, geopolitical pressures and now a war in Ukraine. As the Melbourne economy opens and we begin to think about recovery from these challenges, this is a good time to think about the foundations of cities and how they’re shaped.

That’s why Committee for Melbourne released its 2022 Benchmarking Melbourne Report on 15 February.

Commissioned by the Committee and JLL, The Business of Cities analysed independent data assessing the city’s performance against 19 global peer cities. The Report measures how Melbourne stacks up across future economy, liveability and infrastructure & sustainability, with the aim of reinvigorating a conversation and ideas for Greater Melbourne’s future.

To further the thinking on cities, Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Corrs) and the Committee were proud to host Federal Shadow Minister for Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Mr Andrew Giles MP on Tuesday, 5 April 2022.

Joseph Barbaro (Partner in Charge, Melbourne, Corrs) was joined by Nathaniel Popelianski (Head of Property and Real Estate, Corrs) and Leanne Edwards (Director Policy and Research, the Committee) for an engaging discussion on cities across various themes including:

  • The need to provide a foundational vision and principles for a city, such as an urban policy framework, to enable it to become more resilient and withstand future shocks.
  • A more connected and inclusive Greater Melbourne should be considered. Simply reverting to the same style of a pre-pandemic city might not be appropriate. We need to consider new ways of living and working, and connecting people to services and amenities across the CBD and the suburbs. The data in the report points to a ‘Tale of Two Cities’ and the need to support connectivity and access to amenity and cultural services, across the whole of Greater Melbourne.
  • Agglomeration continues to be important, even in a new environment where hybrid working arrangements might continue. The CBD will continue to play a very important economic and cultural role in Melbourne, but we might need to consider how it can be reimagined and invigorated. Democratisation of the CBD should be considered, so that all Melburnians can share in what Melbourne has to offer.
  • Ways of collaborating across three levels of Government should be explored to ensure there is a clear vision and direction as governments seek to invest and implement new policies. This might include reimagining city deals and innovation hubs.
  • While Melbourne performs well in areas such as arts and culture, food and events, research and skills, we must continue to support and innovate in these areas to ensure the city remains competitive.
  • With a looming skills shortage across many sectors of the economy, considering ways to attract and retain talent is important, including a greater focus on international students.
  • Melbourne should be considered as part of an overall plan for Australian cities with a better vision for co-operation and collaboration to generate scale and competitive advantage across the whole country.

As the Federal Election approaches, there are many opportunities for our elected leaders to provide vision and policy initiatives that might address some of the issues raised during the discussion. The Committee looks forward to an ongoing and fruitful dialogue on how Melbourne’s future can be supported and invigorated.

Read the Committee’s 2022 Benchmarking Melbourne Report.

For further information contact Leanne Edwards, Director Policy and Research at ledwards@melbourne.org.au 

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