The City of Whittlesea has joined former Victorian Premiers the Hon Steve Bracks AC, the Hon John Brumby AO, and President of the Senate and Senator for Victoria the Hon Scott Ryan to launch the North and West Melbourne City Deal Plan 2020-2040, a 20-year proposal of projects and investment for the region.
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.
“The North and West Melbourne City Deal Plan 2020-2040 is critical for the City of Whittlesea, particularly as we recover from the devastating impacts of job losses in our community that has been created by COVID-19,” Chair, Panel of Administrators, Ms Lydia Wilson said.
The Plan includes investment projects, some of which are underway or planned, while others are brand new.
“Building the Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal is a transformative and inter-generational project that will unlock around 18,000 jobs,” Ms Wilson said.
“It will significantly improve efficiencies in freight movements currently going in and out of Victoria’s two largest ports - Melbourne and Geelong.
“The plan also to build a Food Innovation Hub next to the Melbourne Wholesale Market at Epping will further leverage our existing strength in food production, manufacturing and logistics.”
The City Deal 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.
“It is estimated that up to the end of June, 14,500 jobs have been lost in the City of Whittlesea since the start of the pandemic,” Ms Wilson said.
“We welcome this City Deal and hope that it provides some light for our community that there is an exciting plan ahead to kickstart our economic recovery, reboot business, and boost social and economic inclusion.”
Former Premier and Member for Broadmeadows, and now Chancellor of La Trobe University, John Brumby 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,” he 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,” he said.
To read the North and West Melbourne City Plan Deal 2020-2040, visit: www.nwmcitydeal.org.au
To watch the announcement in full, visit: https://vimeo.com/450829926