City Deals allow Commonwealth, State and local governments to work together to drive national priorities tailored to local needs, develop plans for growth and commit to shared actions. The Federal and Victorian State Government committed to developing a North West Melbourne City Deal in 2019, and asked local communities to develop a plan for what it might look like.
The North and West Melbourne City Deal Plan 2020-2040 is a community effort to arrive at a joint list of investment priorities for the region. The next step in progressing the deal is to seek formal Memorandum of Understanding arrangements at a Commonwealth, State and local government level.
La Trobe University Chancellor John Brumby AO said this is the first time the North and West has come together with a single economic vision, with bipartisan support.
“With the population in North and West Melbourne tipped to reach 3 million by 2040, we need to kickstart the economy in this region, and this Plan is the key to doing just that.”
The North and West Melbourne City Deal Plan 2020-2040 aims to kickstart economic recovery in one of the fastest growing regions of Australia, reboot business, boost social and economic inclusion, and leverage existing strengths in health, food production, manufacturing and logistics. One in 12 Australians and one in three Victorians live in the North and West Melbourne region.
The Plan includes intergenerational investment projects, some of which are underway or planned, while others are brand new.
The 66 transformative and enabling projects will unlock economic development opportunities across the eight key precincts of Broadmeadows, Cloverton/Beveridge, Cobblebank, Epping, Footscray, La Trobe, Sunshine and Werribee, and are aligned to four priorities for the region – Future Economy; Transport and Connectivity; Health and Wellbeing; and Liveability.
La Trobe’s $5 billion University City of the Future project is identified as key to supporting economic growth and liveability of Melbourne’s North. University City of the Future, at the University’s 235 hectare Melbourne Campus in Bundoora, will include new infrastructure that will open up the University to the local community as a place to live, learn, work, socialise and stay healthy. It is expected that within 10 years it will create more than 20,000 new jobs and stimulate 3.5 billion in economic activity.
The Plan has been developed through unprecedented collaboration of 13 local Councils represented by LeadWest and the Northern Councils Alliance, La Trobe and Victoria Universities, and economic development bodies NORTH Link and the West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance.
It comes as the North and West Melbourne region has been hardest hit by the pandemic, against a backdrop of some of the highest unemployment rates in Victoria. More than 60 per cent of Victoria’s cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Melbourne’s North and West, with businesses heavily reliant on JobKeeper to sustain staff.
So far, around 80,000 jobs have been lost in the North, with thousands more employees on reduced hours, and almost half of the businesses in the West have lost more than 25 per cent of their revenue compared to same period last year as a result of COVID-19.
“A City Deal for the North and West Melbourne region was urgently needed before COVID-19… it is even more critical today,” former Premier and Member for Williamstown, and Chancellor-elect of Victoria University,Steve Bracks, said.
Senator for Victoria Scott Ryan said the region is of vital economic importance, containing Melbourne Airport, the Port of Melbourne, the national freight rail terminal and the Hume Freeway.
“For our nation to succeed, the North and West Melbourne region needs to succeed. Investment in the North and West will be critical to the economic response to, and recovery from, COVID-19 – not just for our region, but for the state, and for the country,” Senator Ryan said.