30.09.2020Good Governance and Collaboration key to Melbourne’s COVID-19 Road to Recovery

For many years Melbourne has enjoyed global status as one of the world’s most liveable cities. We are Australia’s undisputed sporting, cultural, events, hospitality, education and collaboration capital.

The essence of Melbourne’s success has been liveability, supported by a vibrant economy, an educated workforce, a strong research and innovation agenda, and a resilient and diverse civil society.

The COVID-19 health crisis has not been well managed in Victoria-the facts are clear. Not since the economic downturn of the 1980s has Melbourne’s position as one of the world’s great global cities been so profoundly challenged.

Our members have expressed their concerns and frustrations with our great city and state’s situation, where fear is being cultivated rather than challenge. Other cities are trying to poach our research, engineering and technical talent, and doing what they can to attract job creating investments that in the past would have come our way. We need to turn this situation around.

Rather than dwelling on why we are in this position, however, we need to focus on what Victoria and Melbourne need to do to emerge strongly from the COVID-19 health crisis.

Melbourne’s sustainable recovery depends on two things: Good Governance and Collaboration.

These values are often extolled but not always observed. For Melbourne, they are the foundation stone for restoring confidence for business and the community.

Good Governance and Collaboration were the key to Melbourne’s recovery in the 1980s.

They were the drivers for Melburnian business, civic and labour leaders who formed the Committee for Melbourne in 1985 to work with Melbourne’s political leadership, with bold and transformational ideas to restore Melbourne’s fortunes, at a time when businesses and people were leaving the city in droves.

These proud Melburnians held the government to account to ensure it delivered outcomes that were good for the city and the state, while collaborating with government to help it deliver. Their bold ideas for Melbourne’s transformation included the redevelopment of Docklands and Melbourne’s sporting precincts, the introduction of Sunday trading, investment in Melbourne Airport and the highways, tunnels and bridges that would become CityLink.

Good Governance and Collaboration Statement

Four governance and collaboration priorities should underpin Melbourne’s recovery:

Tackle health and economic emergencies together. We need political leadership and a bureaucracy that is up to the challenge of being able both effectively manage the health crisis and have a plan for opening the economy. This is not an “either-or” choice – we need a “both-and” approach. We also need to urgently broaden our focus from controlling the spread of COVID-19 to addressing the emergency’s effects on the broader health and well-being of the community.

Secure a successful and safe return to work strategy: Rapid identification, tracking and tracing systems are needed to generate trust and confidence in our health systems, where government and community can deal with breakouts, isolate affected individuals and environments and not shut down the entire economy. Learning from other cities, systems and sectors and leveraging technology and innovations for good results is essential.

Create accountability, trust and confidence in our government and bureaucracy. The unprecedented nature of what we face is well understood, but the response must be done within the framework of our democratic processes and freedoms. For example, our parliaments must be able to continue oversight and governments must be accountable for and learn and adapt from systemic errors that have occurred and to build community, business and investor confidence.

Promote Government – Industry Collaboration. Government should leverage the strengths of Australia’s market based economy and private enterprise. For our most intractable and urgent problems we must draw on all of the resources and capabilities available to our society, engage widely and bring groups of stakeholders together on the journey. A jointly designed economic recovery roadmap will help build consensus on the outcome we seek and how we get there.

Melbourne’s recovery is in our hands. The Committee’s Road to Recovery campaign, launched in April this year, evokes the spirit of shared endeavour to aid recovery, improve the delivery of growth and restore Melbourne’s brand and liveability through genuine partnership, based on science and transparency.

The campaign draws on the Committee’s 150 members to contribute ideas for the revival of the visitor economy, arts and culture, events, not-for-profit, transport, real estate, energy, digital, education, research and innovation sectors.

The Committee calls on the Government to commit to a collaborative effort which draws on our ideas and consolidates and drives outcomes for Melbourne’s future which will restore the confidence business and consumers need.

Melbourne has the human, industry and intellectual resources to shape our road to recovery, and to build an even better Melbourne and Victoria. We are 25% of Australia’s GDP. What happens here matters to our city, our state and our nation.

A collaborative campaign which restores confidence in Melbourne’s brand and builds on these strengths would be a good place to start.

Download our media statement
As a collective of Proud Melburnians, our Road to Recovery Taskforce working groups are shaping ‘ideas to outcomes’ in the following sectors:

AI and Digital Economy Taskforce: Chair, CfM Chair Scott Tanner
Transport Taskforce: Chair Ishaan Nangia, Partner, McKinsey and Co
Affordable Housing Taskforce: Chair, Jane Hodder, partner at Herbert Smith Freehills. CfM Director and Deputy Chair of the Queen Victoria Markets
Future Skills Taskforce: Chair, Derek Scott, CEO| Principal, Haileybury
Visitor Economy Reference Group: Chair, Clive Scott, General Manager, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins
Arts and Culture Taskforce: Chair, CfM CEO Martine Letts
International Education Economy: Chair, Deputy Vice Chancellor (International) University of Melbourne, Professor Michael Wesley
Not for Profit Taskforce: Chair, Scott Chapman, CEO Royal Flying Doctors Service

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