The primary focus of WoMEDA is to strengthen economic development in the west, to support the achievement of broader social engagement and health outcomes.

It sets the strategy for:

  • strengthening employment in the west
  • building on our unique and rich regional heritage
  • better meeting the economic development challenges of the next decade.

About WoMEDA

The West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance (WoMEDA) was established in 2016. It is an initiative of Victoria University, arising from discussions between Victoria University, State Government and key stakeholders in the west of Melbourne (including local government and the business community), which revealed a common need to view the region through an economic lens.

WoMEDA is focussed on the area covered by the six Councils that work together through LeadWest (the regional organisation for the west):

  • Brimbank
  • Hobsons Bay
  • Maribyrnong
  • Melton
  • Moonee Valley
  • Wyndham.

The three main priorities, or themes, in the WoMEDA economic development agenda are:

  • suburban jobs growth
  • improved community health and wellbeing
  • smarter transport connectivity.

The Economic Development Strategy for the West of Melbourne is the culmination of the work of WoMEDA over the past two years.

The Strategy

The Economic Development Strategy for the West of Melbourne officially launched in 2017, with the focus explicitly on strengthening employment in the west. We believe jobs growth is not matching population growth in the west of Melbourne, and absent the strategy, the west will become a dormitory.

The strategy sets out WoMEDA’s views as to how and where to strengthen jobs growth in the region. In order to encourage the development of local jobs, we have focussed on three major employment hubs - Footscray, Werribee and Sunshine. For each we have crafted specific plans. There are also over-arching issues of catch-up, which need to be addressed.

Clearly the west is much more than those three hubs, however building these three strong local hubs of employment will generate widespread benefits for the region.

In 2019, WoMEDA expanded on Sunshine, and has released Sunshine: Daring to be Great - Economic Development and Jobs Strategy for the Sunshine Gateway Precinct.

The Victorian and Commonwealth Governments have made crucial decisions which will shape Sunshine’s future, including establishing a transport super-hub as part of the new Airport Rail Link, and declaring Sunshine as a Priority Precinct for investment and development.

WOMEDA's Strategy outlines a plan to create more jobs in the precinct and capitalise on this extraordinary opportunity.

Employment hubs in the west

To encourage the development of local jobs, the Strategy focusses on three major employment hubs - Footscray, Werribee and Sunshine.

Under guidance of the Board, lead economist Professor Rod Maddock has crafted specific plans for each hub, with research assistance from economists Rod Glover (Monash Sustainable Development Institute) and Bill Unkles (Saturn Corporate Resources).

The key areas for Footscray as an employment hub are:

  • health, sport and active living (including the proposal for a new hospital in Footscray)
  • education (including the proposal for the Footscray Learning Precinct)
  • professional services.

They key areas for Sunshine as an employment hub are:

  • health and care
  • justice and security (including courts, prisons, protective services and related welfare services)
  • construction
  • waste management and recycling.

To read more about the plans for Sunshine, see Sunshine: Daring to be Great - Economic Development and Jobs Strategy for the Sunshine Gateway Precinct.

The key areas for Werribee as an employment hub are:

  • tertiary education (including the proposed Australian Education City at VU's Werribee Campus, which plans to integrate education, research, business, arts and culture, and residential facilities)
  • food manufacturing (including production, manufacturing and product development)
  • logistics.

Clearly, the west is much more than those three hubs; however, building these three strong local hubs of employment will generate widespread benefits for the region.

There are also over-arching issues of catch-up to be addressed. The three key areas of concern are:

  • health outcomes
  • educational outcomes
  • labour-force participation outcomes.

The WoMEDA Board

Chaired by former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, the Board includes representatives from Victoria University, local government and business.

Current Board Members (as at May 2020):

  • Steve Bracks – Chair, WoMEDA Board
  • Peter Dawkins – Vice-Chancellor and President, Victoria University (Deputy Chair)
  • Wade Noonan - Executive Director, WoMEDA
  • Ameet Bains – CEO, Western Bulldogs Football Club
  • Louise Glanville - CEO, Victorian Legal Aid and Chair, Western Metropolitan Partnership
  • Kelly Grigsby – CEO, Wyndham City Council
  • Russell Harrison – CEO, Western Health
  • Merril Hotchkin - Head of Strategy and People, Metricon Homes
  • Bill Jaboor – Chair, Western Melbourne Regional Development Australia Committee
  • Helen Morrissey - CEO, Brimbank City Council
  • Cathy Scalzo –  CEO, Scalzo Family Office (Scalzo Food Industries)
  • Stephen Wall – CEO, Maribyrnong City Council
  • Jim Williamson - Chair, LeadWest.

Key Advisor to the Board: Rod Maddock – Lead Economist, WoMEDA.

Executive Officer: Natalie Meagher - Senior Advisor, Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Victoria University.

Former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, Chair of the WoMEDA board.

Contact us

WoMEDA sits within Victoria University.

For further information, please contact:

Office of the Vice-Chancellor
Phone: +61 3 9919 4011
Email: [email protected]