05.08.2021Tackling Melbourne’s Road to Recovery

In April last year, Committee for Melbourne launched its Road to Recovery Taskforce, based on a call for collaboration between industry and government, and a set of five principles and specific actions to turbo charge Melbourne and Victoria’s recovery.

We said that to recover lost ground Victoria must:

  • Tackle health and economy challenges together.
  • Secure a successful and safe opening of the economy.
  • Create accountability, trust and confidence in our government and bureaucracy.
  • Promote Government – Industry Collaboration.
  • Invest in bold projects to kick-start the economy-some short term and longer term.

We identified specific immediate bold projects and advocacy initiatives to assist Melbourne’s recovery, including collaborative projects with the Victorian Government to share best practice for safe return to work and the city, by successfully tapping into our 150-member cross-sectoral network to promote and improve COVID-safe business practices so businesses can stay open while also strongly pushing for an accelerated and at-scale vaccination rollout.

With the assistance of eight Proud Melburnians, drawn from our Board and broader membership representing the education, communications, professional services, property, arts and culture, and the visitor economy sectors, we ran a series of Road to Recovery Working Groups, and a forum in November 2020 with our Patron, the Governor of Victoria, The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, following which the Taskforce provided updates from our Road to Recovery Taskforce and community leaders. That work has continued throughout 2021.

Our Road to Recovery Taskforce Steering Committee will reconvene next week to review and refresh our call for a recovery and reform agenda, to lift our city out of this once in a generation crisis. We know from our own member polling and the virus’ behaviour that we need a longer-term, coordinated recovery plan based on a pathway for living with COVID-19 well into the future as many other global cities are doing.

Under its Road to Recovery Taskforce, the Committee advocated for and published on the following initiatives, many of which have been activated:

  • A successful Brand Campaign to increase visitation to the CBD and Greater Melbourne
  • An Affordable Housing Strategy
  • Visitor Economy, International Students and Arts & Culture forums with published recommendations to government for all these critical sectors for our economy and standing
  • Calls for investment in a Melbourne Airport Rail Link
  • Acceleration of the development of Fishermans Bend
  •  An investment strategy for Melbourne’s innovation economy
  • Revitalisation of the Yarra
  • A call for a South-East Megaregion for Australia
  • A call for an Integrated Transport Plan for Greater Melbourne
  • Guiding Principles for Private Sector and Not-for-Profit Collaboration
  • A call for a strategy on Artificial Intelligence and digital capability

The Committee’s five recovery principles remain valid today, but recovery strategies and actions will need to be premised on the understanding that we cannot wait for the eradication of COVID-19 to plan for and execute our economic and community recovery.

Led by Committee for Melbourne Deputy Chair Gerard Dalbosco, the Taskforce will take stock of Committee for Melbourne’s work with its members and with government on a COVID-19 safe recovery. We will review what the Committee’s focus should be for the next six months in building on the messages we developed in 2020 and 2021, still focussing on how Melbourne can build its way out of this crisis and reclaim its status as one of the world’s most successful, attractive and liveable cities.

This much is clear from the Federal Government’s four-point plan released at the beginning of July 2021: it recognises that ultimately Australia and the world will be living with the COVID-19 virus for some time to come. In order to reach this point, a level of vaccination in the community will be required which has now been specified, although certainty on plans for enabling those levels of vaccination to be achieved and plans for the community to live with the virus, will enable greater opening up and confidence for business and people to get back to normal.

Looking ahead, the Committee is turning its attention to understanding Melbourne’s longer-term future, and whether COVID-19 calls for a major reset in our assumptions about what underpins our future liveability and prosperity. Our members have already called for a greater focus on climate change and sustainability. We look forward to working with our members and developing a Future Melbourne agenda via three new Standing Committees on the Future Economy; Infrastructure & Sustainability and Liveability & Urban Optimisation chaired by three Committee for Melbourne Board members.

We look forward to sharing the outcomes of the Taskforce meetings with you and to collaborating with you on our Future Melbourne agenda.

Committee for Melbourne ‘Road to Recovery’ Working Groups and Chairs:

Affordable Housing, Chair, Jane Hodder – Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills and Committee Director

AI and Digital Economy, Chair, Scott Tanner – Board Chair, Committee for Melbourne

Arts & Culture, Chair, Martine Letts – CEO, Committee for Melbourne

Future Skills, Chair, Derek Scott – CEO and Principal, Haileybury

Integrated Transport, Chair, Ishaan Nangia – Partner, McKinsey and Co and Committee Director

International Education, Chair, Professor Michael Wesley – Deputy Vice Chancellor (International) The University of Melbourne

Let’s Melbourne Again Campaign, Chair, Jim Gall Clemenger BBDO

Not-for-Profit, Chair, Scott Chapman CEO – Royal Flying Doctors Service

Visitor Economy, Chair, Clive Scott – General Manager, Sofitel Melbourne On Collins

‘Future Melbourne’ Committee for Melbourne Standing Committee Chairs:

Future Economy Standing Committee: Professor John Dewar AO (VC La Trobe University)

Infrastructure & Sustainability Standing Committee: Mr Roland van Benten (Manager, Development Origination, Dexus Victoria)

Liveability & Urban Optimisation Standing Committee: Mr Craig Shute (Managing Director, Victoria, JLL)

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