Former Premier Mr Steve Bracks launched a strategy to improve the economy and wellbeing of Melbourne's inner west, on Wednesday 6 December.
Mr Bracks is seeking to create thousands of new jobs in the West of Melbourne by transforming the cities of Footscray, Sunshine and Werribee into major employment centres.
His plan to establish the West as an employment powerhouse is part of a new jobs strategy outlined by the West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance (WoMEDA), which is chaired by Mr Bracks.
Identifying opportunities in the West
The West of Melbourne is growing rapidly. According to population forecasters, it will represent more than '40 per cent of Melbourne’s city’s metropolitan population growth in the next 40 years'.
Mr Bracks said the West’s soaring population and need for employment had created major opportunities.
The strategy identifies opportunities in important areas, including:
- targeting job growth and skills, especially in new, future-oriented national and global industries
- building on existing businesses and industry strengths
- considering new congestion-easing transport initiatives
- improving the overall standard of living in the region.
“What we don’t want is to waste this opportunity, to allow the West to become a dormitory in the absence of a plan,” Mr Bracks said.
“What is needed is to use the region’s economic strengths, which are on a national scale, to create jobs, address community needs and completely transform peoples’ lives.”
Focus on employment
Mr Bracks said that bringing the West up to Melbourne averages in employment and participation would add 25,000 workers and about 1 per cent, or over $3 billion to Victoria’s Gross State Product.
“Our modelling suggests 100,000 more people will be looking for jobs in the West by 2030 than the number of jobs available here. We need local jobs to prevent excessive congestion of transport and improve the quality of life for residents,” Mr Bracks said.
The headline elements of the WoMEDA strategy include:
- A new jobs strategy to enable health and education in the west to ‘catch up’ to Melbourne averages, and transform Footscray, Sunshine and Werribee into major employment ‘clusters’.
- Developing a new hospital co-located at Victoria University’s Footscray Park Campus as part of the Footscray strategy.
- Establishing Sunshine as the West’s prime employment corridor through Brimbank and Melton.
Footscray Hospital a potential boon
Mr Bracks said, “A key decision for government to make is the location of a new hospital for Footscray. WoMEDA believes that a co-location with Victoria University would create the opportunity for a major health precinct which would have profound impact on the community. Modelling by Victoria University’s world-renowned Centre of a Policy Studies also suggests it would create about 2,000 new jobs for the West of Melbourne.
WoMEDA’s Deputy Chair Professor Peter Dawkins, Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University, agrees that the co-location of a new state-of-the-art Footscray Hospital, with Victoria University at its Footscray Park Campus, provided the opportunity for an exciting major precinct development. “It would mean creating a world-class asset in Footscray, built around an employment and jobs cluster and the synergies between community health, private health and R&D in Health, Sport and Active Living, which Victoria University excels in,” he said.
Read more about West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance.
Interviews: Mr Steve Bracks, Professor Peter Dawkins (AO) Vice-Chancellor and President Victoria University or Professor Rodney Maddock Victoria University, please contact: