07.07.2020Reimagining Australia’s South-East Report


The Committee for Melbourne (the Committee) today released a report commissioned from SGS Economics and Planning entitled Reimagining Australia’s South-East. The report, produced prior to the COVID-19 crisis, details the extensive economic and social benefit that could be achieved if an Eastern Seaboard Megaregion were established from Geelong to the Sunshine Coast.

“SGS Economics estimates that Australia’s pre-COVID-19 economy could have benefitted significantly from a cooperative approach across the south-east, adding an estimated $268 billion to the economy over 30 years if even only a conservative 1% improvement was achieved over that time period,” said Martine Letts, CEO, Committee for Melbourne.
Click here to download the report

“A mega-region is a set of cities, integrated with each other and their surrounding hinterlands, across which labour and capital can be moved around at a very low cost.

“It makes sense to consider the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane area as a combined megaregion, given that the eastern seaboard offers significant trading opportunities and combined this region represents 64 per cent of Australia’s population and around 70 per cent of GDP. By 2050, the combined population living in the Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane corridor is expected to increase from 64 percent to 71 per cent.”

“The benefits of collaboration across the country has been demonstrated by the rapid and co-ordinated health response to the COVID-19 crisis, through the newly formed National Cabinet. Imagine what could be achieved if such cooperation could be retained following this crisis, in recovery and beyond.”

“Investment in projects that can support employment and economic outcomes will be necessary for post-COVID economic recovery. As our major eastern seaboard cities plan to invest for economic recovery, they will need to create a pipeline of large, longer term transparent infrastructure plans that will both underpin employment and business, and provide the foundations for community building and economic growth.”

“As the Australian economy recovers, it is likely that there will be a greater need to scale-up new industries and enhance our export capabilities in areas such as agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and medical manufacturing. The levels of supply-chain self-sufficiency and scale needed on the road to recovery will require collaboration and coordination across borders.”

“It makes sense for each of the major cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to co-ordinate their large infrastructure investments in a strategic way, to enhance the likelihood of greater overall returns for the future.”

“The report demonstrates that greater collaboration and planning across those regions could have significant settlement benefits for the economy and the community in reducing congestion, improving planning and improving housing affordability outcomes. Innovation and productivity improvements from greater collaboration could also significantly boost the economy.”

“Additionally, as global economies diversify and new large megaregions are established in major economies like China, USA and Europe, Australian cities need to be able to compete. The Eastern Seaboard cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane need to consider the benefits of collaboration that include being able to negotiate collectively on a world stage and develop sufficient scale to achieve greater export capabilities into international markets.”

The report released today, highlights that there is a plethora of activities that could be focused on to achieve a mega region, and these comprise small and relatively simple undertakings, to large-scale investments and initiatives. They include:

Combined tourism/investment attraction campaign;
An integrated and more efficient transportation network (e.g. faster-speed rail, freight, rail gauges, alignment of transport ticketing systems);
Technology and data share;
Combining specific state government resources;
Alignment of red tape, including business laws and regulations;
Alignment of skills and education systems, and
Possible creation of new cities as links between the larger cities
“There is a plethora of development activity that is occurring across Victoria, NSW and QLD. However, this activity is happening in isolation. Policy levers such as favourable taxation and investment incentives, coordinated transport and land use planning and a clear and transparent strategy, need to be considered by governments and could create a blueprint for Australia’s East Coast Megaregion.”

“The COVID-19 crisis provides an opportunity to change the way we manage the road to recovery, across borders and across jurisdictions to the net benefit of all.  For example, investment in projects of state and even national significance such as faster interstate rail links between cities, has the capacity to reshape Australia and drive economic activity into the future.”

“Given the size and scale of the policy considerations, tremendous leadership will be needed to drive the long-term strategic thinking that an East Coast Megaregion requires.”

“The Committee calls on the Federal Government and governments of Victoria, NSW and QLD to use the momentum from the collaboration achieved at the National Cabinet to set-up a leadership body to consider how an East Coast Megaregion could drive sustained economic recovery, prioritise investment in nation-building infrastructure and potentially deliver billions of dollars to our economy over time” said Ms Letts.





To arrange interviews and details or the report contact

Laura Kerr Melvin I Committee for Melbourne, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager I M +61 434 107 949 I lmelvin@melbourne.org.au

Available for interview

Martine Letts, CEO Committee for Melbourne

Terry Rawnsley, Principal Partner, National Lead Economic and Social Analysis| M +61 412 878 652


Committee for Melbourne (the Committee) works towards shaping a better future for Greater Melbourne. Together with our members, we make a difference by challenging the status quo and encouraging thought leadership to create change through confident and influential advocacy.

With over 150 member organisations drawn from across Greater Melbourne’s major corporations, small and medium businesses, academic institutions, local government and not-for-profit entities, the Committee is an active connector.

The Committee’s work embraces four key pillars: Future Economy, Infrastructure, Urban Optimisation and Liveability. Working with, and on behalf of our members, the Committee aims to ensure Melbourne’s challenges and opportunities are addressed in ways that keep our city vital, inclusive, progressive and sustainable.

As a not-for-profit, member-funded entity, the Committee is politically independent and impartial. This allows us to freely and purposefully raise issues of importance to the growth and development of Greater Melbourne.

In response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Committee launched a ‘Road to Recovery’ advocacy platform, in collaboration with the Broader Melbourne business community, civic leaders,  Government agencies and the national Committees for Cites and Regions network.

Download Report

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