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Welcome to the launch of the Building a New Hospital for Melton – An Economic Analysis

Presented in partnership with [City of Melton logo] [LeadWest logo]

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Laura-Jo Mellan

Welcome everyone, and thank you for joining us today, as we launch WoMEDA's Melton Hospital Economic Analysis in partnership with LeadWest and Melton City Council

My name is Laura-Jo Mellan, I am the Executive Manager of Property and Projects at Melton City Council, and it's my pleasure to be your MC for today.

I would like to commence by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the many lands in which we gather today and pay my respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

I would also like to acknowledge the City of Melton councillors, our State and Federal local Members of Parliament, State Government representatives,  and key stakeholders.

Thank you for joining us. It will be no surprise to any of you, that the City of Melton is experiencing significant growth. In fact, the city is set to increase from the current population. of approximately 165,000, to nearly 500,000 people by 2050.

With such sustained and rapid growth, it is imperative that key. infrastructure and services are rolled out simultaneously to support this growing community.

Last year, the Victorian Government allocated $2.4 million in the budget, to commence the planning for the new Melton Hospital.

This work is now underway and will include recommendations on design, service delivery, location, and timelines. The ongoing health benefits of the Melton Hospital will be substantial and far reaching.

It will significantly improve the health care, not only for our growing community, but for the wider catchment that it will serve including neighbouring municipalities and nearby regional areas.

The new Melton Hospital will be part of the Western Health Network, meaning it will help deliver gaps and services, currently offered at Sunshine and Footscray Hospitals.

Today however, we are going to focus, on the economic impact that our new hospital will have, not only on the City of Melton, but on the broader western region.

Professor Rodney Maddock has undertaken independent research on behalf of the West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance, WoMEDA, to establish the economic impact of the new Melton Hospital.

I am sure you all agree, it's a compelling narrative and we will hear more from Professor Maddock later.

You will then hear from State Member from Melton, Steve McGhie, City of Melton Mayor, Councillor Lara Carli, and LeadWest Executive Officer, Sue La Greca.

But first, it is my great pleasure, to introduce Steve Bracks AC, former Premier of Victoria and Chair of WoMEDA.  He will introduce this important piece of research that establishes the Melton Hospital not only as a critical health need, but as a major catalyst for economic stimulus and job creation in Melbourne's outer west.

As you will all be aware, Steve Bracks has been a strong advocate for investment in Melbourne's west for years. It is my great pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, to introduce Steve Bracks AC.

Steve Bracks

Thank you, Laura Jo. And, thanks everyone for joining us today as we launch WoMEDA’s economic analysis of a new Melton Hospital.  I want to start by acknowledging all of the lands on which we are virtually meeting today.

And, of course I hope everyone is keeping safe and taking care of themselves and their loved ones during this very challenging period.

As someone who has lived in the west for decades and represented and advocated for and on behalf of the West for many years, I’m very familiar with the challenges facing our region.

One of the key challenges is growing the number of local jobs in our region. That’s why WoMEDA was created. We seek to influence new economic development opportunities and create more local jobs in Melbourne’s west.  Since our establishment in 2017, WoMEDA has launched several landmark reports, including last month’s Melbourne’s North and West City Deal Plan.

In case you missed it, the Plan is a blueprint for our region – and for Victoria – to respond to the impacts of the COVID pandemic in the immediate and medium-term, and to build our economy for the future. The City Deal Plan includes a list of 66 transformative and enabling projects, with the new hospital in Melton being one of our top priorities.  The City Deal plan also makes a strong case for the creation of four key priority precincts in Melbourne’s west, including Footscray, Sunshine, Werribee and Cobblebank, within the Melton local government area.

These precincts will become the economic beating hearts of our region and create tens of thousands of local jobs.

Planning and development of the Cobblebank precinct is now underway. It is already served by a train station and is expected to include the new Melton Hospital, a justice precinct, a sports precinct, university campus, TAFE, civic buildings, commercial office space, and a thriving retail sector – ultimately supporting 22,000 jobs.

The case for a new hospital in Melton is clear, particularly given the population growth in the area and the demand on existing hospitals in Sunshine and Footscray.

What’s not as clear is the positive economic impacts associated with investing in a new hospital in Melton.

Shortly, WOMEDA’s lead researcher, Professor Rod Maddock will present to you his independent analysis of the economic benefits associated with building the hospital.

This analysis will tell a different and timely story. The hospital will generate new jobs. For people already living in the West, rather than commuting to the city and beyond, it will provide the opportunity for them to live and work in the same area.  Importantly it will mean a diverse mix of jobs, ranging from highly qualified medical specialists, managerial and professional, along with administrative, trade and entry level jobs.  The new hospital will help bring to life the Cobblebank Metropolitan Activity Centre and create many spillover economic benefits regionally. 

Finally, I want to draw attention to the four key recommendations contained is this report, as follows:

  1. Firstly, WOMEDA endorses this critical transformational project as one of significance to the broader region;
  2. We support the delivery of a business case to be completed by the end of this year, with construction to commence by 2022, with the hospital to be operational by 2026;
  3. We support the land acquisition to be included in the next Victorian State Budget;
  4. And we endorse the hospital to be part of a North West Melbourne City Deal as an anchor project.

Before I finish, I did want to briefly thank our team from WOMEDA, including Professor Rod Maddock, the author of the report, and the WOMEDA Board.

I also wish to thank Melton City Council, led by Mayor, Cr Lara Carli and CEO, Kel Tori, for hosting this event. We know how much this hospital matters to your local community and we’re grateful for your support.

I also wish to acknowledge our friends and partners at LeadWest, who are also supporting the launch of our report. I commend WOMEDA’s report to you and look forward to the timely delivery of the Melton Hospital that will be a major employment hub for the outer west and into the Ballarat region.

I hope you enjoy the launch. Thank you.

Laura-Jo Mellan

Thank you, Steve.

I would now like to introduce Professor Rodney Maddock, the lead economist at WoMEDA.  Professor Maddock will present the findings from the analysis that has been undertaken on what investment into a new hospital in Melton would deliver.

Professor Maddock has also prepared strategic economic papers for the Footscray and Sunshine precincts, as well as the economic development strategy for the West of Melbourne. Please join me in welcoming Professor Maddock.

Proessor Rod Maddock

Hello, my name is Rod Maddock.  I'm the lead economist for the West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance. 

What I'm going to tell you about today. is some of the work we've done on trying to model the employment impact of the development of a new five hundred bed hospital at Melton.  Hospitals are really important in the development of cities.

They act as anchor institutions. and create a lot of economic activity around them.  So, in sort of some sense, like magnets, and we really think that hospitals have two effects, you have to take into account one is the direct effect. because they are quite big employers. in their own right, and secondly the indirect effect. is induced economic activity, which will happen as a result of the employment. of people at the hospital.

In our estimate, the hospital, the building of a 500-bed hospital at Melton will actually produce us somewhere in the order of 4,000 additional jobs.  About 2,250 of these jobs full time equivalent positions will be at the hospital directly.  This sort of working on normal averages for hospital employment.  That's a 500-bed hospital. As well as that, we think that there will be at least 1500 jobs indirectly created by the advent of the hospital.

In addition, the third category in fact, which you'd get is that during the construction phase, you get something like another 375 workers employed or something of that order. Putting it together you finish up with about. 4,000 jobs being created by the hospital and on an ongoing basis of the order of 3,500. These are, full time equivalent jobs.  So, we're thinking about in our numbers here.

To the extent that people are part time, you get obviously get a bigger number of people employed, but the essential point is that hospitals are really important anchors for the development of regions. And the location and development of the hospital in Melton will have a very big impact. Now, Melton has a serious problem of unemployment.

It is one of the... has one of the highest rates of unemployment amongst the local government areas in Melbourne.

And before COVID you actually saw the base- level of unemployment in Melton was about 7.6% as you can see on the slide compared to the average in Victoria of about 5% and the average in inner Melbourne or in regional cities is actually lower than that.  So, Melton is right at the outliers in terms of levels of unemployment.  There's an urgent need for jobs.

The second thing to think about Melton is that there's a very large number of young people who can't find work. And so again, you can see it on the other table there that the number of women aged 20 to 24, who are not in employment, education, or training is actually about 17%. So, one young woman in six is actually outside the normal mechanisms that we use for people becoming more deeply enmeshed in a society.

So these people are disengaged and that's potentially a very difficult long term social issue that we have to confront. So having more jobs locally. is one of the important things we can use to help address that concern. Melton already needs a hospital and as its population grows, the need will become even more intense.

In Australia on average, for every 1000 people, we have about 3.7 hospital beds - that's across the nation and indeed across the west of Melbourne, it should be as well. In Melton with 172,000 people already, that adds up to about 653 additional hospital beds, which are required to service the existing population.  Not all of them will be served locally.

Clearly some people will go to Sunshine or to Footscray or into the city for medical treatment, but to have already the need for 653 beds to be serviced locally of locals is provides a base case justification for hospital development.

If we then expand the analysis to think about well by 2036, what will the population of Melton be? And our best estimate is about 330,000 people, at that stage you'll need something like 1200 beds to satisfy the needs, the medical needs of the people who live in Melton.  The idea that we can then have a 500-bed hospital for Melton by 2036 is sort of completely within the orbit of what we should be doing.

If there are need for 1200 beds, having 500 of them served locally should be absolutely fundamentally conditioned which is served by the health department. There may be scope for further hospitals, for further additional beds. or for a private hospital to be located somewhere in the region.  But at least the idea of having a 500 bed public hospital in an area which has a need for well over 1200 beds seems the case seems very, very strong. In our modelling we've actually been conservative.

We've actually... there’s a range of estimates as to how many indirect jobs are created for every hospital job. We've actually used the bottom of the range.  It would be possible; some estimates suggest we could have doubled our estimate.  So rather than 1,575 some modelling would suggest it could be 3,000 indirect jobs. So that the amount of jobs we've said 4,000 altogether is actually at the lower end. of what you might sensibly estimate.

The other thing that people would be concerned about at the moment is whether because of COVID population growth will be slower.

What we've modelled is we've assumed that people will not migrate to Australia for the next two years 2020 and 2021, but after 2021, population growth and immigration will continue pretty much along the same sorts of trajectories that we've seen in the past. This is sort of assuming that we have a vaccine or something so that we're comfortable. with people migrating and they're comfortable to migrate here.  So we think that, there's no argument in terms of the slowdown in population growth against these sort of assumptions, of having a need for a roughly 1200 beds to be servicing the local community by 2036.

So the need for a 500-bed hospital is completely still intact despite the issues to do with COVID.

So in summary, it's really clear. Melton badly needs a hospital.  Melton badly needs jobs.  Putting a hospital in place addresses both those issues.

It could add 500 beds and as a result adds 4,000 jobs. and we think we will add about $300 million to local spending every year.

The case is very strong. Thank you very much.

Laura-Jo Mellan

Thank you, Professor Maddock.

I'm sure you will all agree that it is definitely a compelling narrative and it is pleasing to see the major economic benefits that a new hospital in Melton will deliver to the region.

Next, you will hear from State Member for Melton, Steve McGhie. He will be followed by the Mayor for the City of Melton, Councillor Lara Carli, and finally, the Executive Officer for LeadWest, Sue La Greca.

Steve McGhie MP has been a strong advocate and supporter of the Melton Hospital, and it is my pleasure to welcome him as part of this launch this morning.

Steve Mcghie

Thanks, Laura-Jo. Thank you for inviting myself to the launch of WoMEDA's analysis of the new hospital for Melton.

As you know, I was elected at the last state election to the seat of Melton. The Andrew's Labor Government, as part of the election commitment has provided $2.4 million for planning of a new Melton hospital. And that planning is well underway and to be completed before the end of the year.  I've had many meetings with the Minister for Health, the Melton City Council, the Melton Hospital Campaign Group and the CEOs of both Western Health and Djerriwarrh Health, and of course, DHHS Building Authority.  I've also met with the community groups and constituents and for them, the new Melton hospital is the number one priority issue.

I want to thank the work that the Melton City Council have done, over many years to campaign for this important project for Melton. Myself and the council have had a very close working relationship since being elected.

Hopefully together, we will be able to achieve the hospital outcomes sooner than later.  As I said earlier, the project is the number one issue for the Melton people.  There would not be a week go by that I am not questioned about when the hospital is going to be built.  This hospital will make it more accessible for people to receive health services quicker and it will make it easier for people of Melton and surrounding districts to visit loved ones in the hospital.  It will improve the provision of health services along the western corridor.  It will create many jobs for the district, both during construction and when it's operational.  It will also improve ambulance services in the area and it will keep local ambulances in Melton and Bacchus Marsh providing for improved response times.

Finally, I have submitted budget bids for funding for the hospital and in recent times, I along with my Western MP colleagues, have submitted COVID-19 bids to bring the hospital build forward. I thank you again and congratulate you on the economic impact analysis.

And now I will hand over to the Melton City Council Mayor, Councillor Lara Carli.

Cr Lara Carli

Thank you, Steve.

Melton City Council has a proud track record in advocating on behalf of our community to ensure investment in infrastructure and services, keeps pace with the rapid growth our city is experiencing.

Last December, we launched our advocacy priorities, which outlined our vision for the future wellbeing and prosperity of our community.  Of which, the Melton Hospital was identified as a critical investment need.

Who could have imagined that just nine months on, we would be in the midst of a global pandemic, the social and economic impacts of which will be felt on a local, national, and global scale for potentially years to come.

In Melton, the economic impacts of COVID-19 have been significant.  In July, 2020, the City of Melton had 11 and a half thousand residents claiming JobSeeker and Youth Allowance. This is 137% increase from 2019 and 41.47% of businesses in the City of Melton were reliant on JobKeeper to keep their doors open in May this year.  That is why the WoMEDA report launch today is so important.

As we all know, job creation and economic stimulus, will be key as we move out of the pandemic and into a phase of regrowth and regeneration and a project like Melton Hospital, is exactly what Victoria needs to spearhead its economic recovery.  The new Melton Hospital will be the anchor project for the Cobblebank Metropolitan Activity Centre and the impetus for major investment creating employment across a diverse range of industries, including justice, health, education, retail, and recreation.  The Melton Hospital will trigger significant jobs growth, not only locally, but within the broader region.  The Hospital will be a catalyst for a health precinct of state significance that will include a private hospital and other health services that will service thousands of Victorians.  We have heard here today that the Melton Hospital will create 375 jobs during construction and 2,250 ongoing jobs and will add 300 million to the local economy.

By fast-tracking this critical piece of community infrastructure, our residents will have access to new employment opportunities in the health and allied services sectors.  And excitingly, in the longer term, our young people will have new and varied opportunities to learn and work close to home, paving the way for a much brighter and more prosperous future.  This is critically important because in outer growth suburbs, the demographic of the  workforce is changing. More and more tertiary qualified professionals are calling the outer suburbs home, and in Melton, 80% of our professional workforce leaves the municipality for work.

The construction of the hospital will help create the diverse mix of professional and specialist job opportunities greatly needed in the outer west.  The evidence is clear.  A new Melton Hospital is needed to meet the current and growing demand for  health and hospital services.  But as we've heard today, the broader economic benefits are equally critical.  Whilst we await the completion of the business case, Council will continue to advocate for this vital project and is seeking a commitment in the upcoming Victorian State budget for the land acquisition.

We hope the State Government will take this opportunity to invest in the Melton Hospital, which we know will help transform Melbourne's outer west into a thriving and diverse economic centre. I now have the great pleasure of introducing the Executive Officer of one of our key regional partners LeadWest.

Please make welcome Sue La Greca, thank you.

Sue La Greca

Thank you, Mayor Carli.  I’m really thrilled today, to be representing LeadWest, the advocacy organisation for Melbourne’s Western Metropolitan Region, and to join with partners WOMEDA and the City of Melton, in advocating for the development of the Melton Hospital.

While the Business Case is underway and construction is expected to commence by 2022, with completion planned for 2026, we’d like this to happen as soon as possible. LeadWest, WOMEDA and councils, recently launched the North and West Melbourne City Deal – a blueprint for development, jobs and economic recovery. Melton hospital is one of the transformative projects in this plan, in the priority precinct of Cobblebank.

LeadWest has also just adopted its ten-year strategic plan, where Melton Hospital features under the strategic goals of economic development and jobs, health and resilience, and liveability.

Not only does the City of Melton, and the broader region, need a hospital to provide essential health and medical services to its rapidly growing population, it also needs a catalyst for economic development and jobs growth. Such a catalyst creates a wide variety of employment, learning and investment opportunities. The people of Melton need a hospital now, and one that can grow with the growing population. A hospital was needed before the COVID-19 pandemic and it will be needed after, as medical research continues to prepare for and to prevent further health crises. The allied industries that will develop around the hospital will also support this thriving community.

The launch of the WOMEDA report today, along with the recent launch of the North and West Melbourne City Deal and the development of the LeadWest Strategic Plan, gives optimism for building a brighter future for Melton and the surrounding region.

What we all work towards now is an acceleration of the planning and construction of the new Melton Hospital. And hopefully we will all be here again, in the not too distant future, in person, with our State and Commonwealth parliamentarians and local councillors, to cut the ribbon on a brand new Melton Hospital.

Thank you for your time today.

Laura- Jo Mellan

Thank you to all our speakers today. This concludes the launch of WoMEDA's Economic Analysis for the Melton Hospital.

On the website, you can find a link to the Melton Hospital Economic Analysis Report in further detail. Thank you again for being part of today's launch.  Enjoy the rest of your day.

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Investing in a new hospital
for a brighter future

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