04.02.2021From the CEO – 4 February 2021

Dear members and friends

Welcome to 2021 and to our first edition of Communique for the year.

I hope you all had an opportunity for some downtime over the Christmas/New Year period, and that you were able to enjoy some of Melbourne’s wonderful “emerging” offerings in our theatres, cafes, restaurants, laneways, galleries, museums and sporting facilities. I certainly enjoyed the renewed vibrancy of Melbourne as we emerge from the COVID-19 chrysalis and I hope you were able to do so too.

While we are clearly not out of the woods yet, we can all be buoyed by the sense of optimism, with economic growth forecasts for Melbourne and Victoria looking better than expected; with our theatres reopening, our world class sporting events back in the frame and a slow but steady return to the CBD.

At the Committee we were excited to host our first in person event at JLL’s offices in the city where a panel of property industry experts and economic planners reviewed JLL’s report “Melbourne re-emerges”. The report, launching next week, identifies thirteen key property trends to watch in 2021 and highlights significant success Melbourne has had recovering after one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.

The trend, compared to prior economic crises in the 1980s, 90s and 2000s looks far more optimistic for commercial and industrial property this time around. The notable, and worrying exception is student residential accommodation, due to the collapse in the international student market and, even more dramatically, the hotel sector at 87% vacancy, a confronting indicator for the challenges faced by our hospitality industry.

The Committee’s International Student Advocacy Group, led by our university members, and our Visitor Economy Reference Group will continue to publish constructive ideas for the reinvigorating of these two sectors, so critical for Melbourne’s broader economy and brand as a welcoming, vibrant, cosmopolitan city.

This year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of our unique Melbourne leadership program, the Future Focus Group (FFG). We wish the class of 2021-2022 all the best, and urge you to use the opportunities to contribute to Melbourne’s recovery which the program offers.

Melbourne’s Road to Recovery will continue to be our focus for 2021, as we work with members and the public sector to restore our economy and liveability.

Our success in managing the COVID-19 health challenge as a city and as a state is a great start to the year. We must build on this success in collaboration between government, community and industry as we continue to seek to shape Melbourne’s future. It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.

We look forward to working with you all.

Happy Reading

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