Council joins united call for North and West Melbourne City Deal

Published on 28 August 2020

NeXT exterior.jpg

Maribyrnong City Council 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.

The Plan 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.

City of Maribyrnong Mayor, Cr Sarah Carter said: “We are proud to be part of this united effort to support the local economy, create local jobs, and create infrastructure that will meet the needs of our growing community.”

“The population in the North and West Melbourne region is expected to grow to 3 million people by 2040, and this Plan will place jobs close to where people live.”

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 eight key precincts, including Footscray, and are aligned to four priorities for the region – Future Economy; Transport and Connectivity; Health and Wellbeing; and Liveability.

“As the population grows in Maribyrnong, a new hospital is desperately needed in Footscray to support the health and wellbeing of our community. The new Footscray Hospital project will provide a purpose-built, world-class facilities where our community will be able to get the best care possible, close to home," Cr Carter said.

“Another key piece of infrastructure that is needed is the transport interchange in Irving Street, which will promote active travel by providing a central Footscray bus terminal well integrated with train and tram services.

“We know that there is a thriving sport and recreation community here in our City, and we want everyone in our community to have opportunities to improve their health and wellbeing. Through the West Footscray Community Facilities Plan, we hope to make upgrades to RecWest Footscray, Shorten and Barrett Reserves, and Johnson Reserve in order to provide safe and accessible public and open spaces for all ages.

“To enhance lifelong learning, we also need investment in NeXT – the Footscray Library, Community and Cultural Hub redevelopment. The development of an iconic and innovative building will provide a space that everyone in our community can use and enjoy now and well into the future, whilst having access to quality learning and literary resources, and contemporary digital technology.

“To support the creation of affordable housing and jobs, the Defence Site Maribyrnong provides a major urban renewal opportunity as part of the City Deal Plan, with a range of community and transport infrastructure," Cr Carter said.

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.

To read the North and West Melbourne City Plan Deal 2020-2040, visit: www.nwmcitydeal.org.au

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Image: NeXT - Footscray Library, Community and Cultural Hub redevelopment