Executive Summary

A Partnership for Regional Prosperity

The eleven municipal Councils in Melbourne ’s South East embarked upon the preparation of an Economic Strategy in late 2000 to guide policy development, land use management and strategic planning decision making focused to deliver sustainable prosperity and liveability to the Region. The Strategy partners included the utility providers of Alinta, South East Water and Telstra, together with the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development and the Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services, in conjunction with the Melbourne Development Board.

Essential Focus of the Strategy

The Economic Strategy for Melbourne ’s South East provides a long-term framework for the economic and strategic development of the Region. The Strategy has three key elements which define its essential focus and perspective. These are:-

  • Strategy’s regional perspective;
  • significance of leadership;
  • key regional projects.

The Economic Strategy has provided a new perspective of Melbourne ’s South East as a clearly identifiable region of national significance. The assessment of resources, opportunities and constraints and the identification of challenges has been undertaken from an integrated Melbourne South East Region perspective, almost certainly for the first time.
The result is a framework focused on regional development, integration and linkages to support current, emerging and future industry and services strengths and resources.

The single most important factor which is likely to influence a successful outcome to the Strategy is the quality and application of leadership in the championing, communication and delivery of the Strategy to the Region. The fostering and development of regional leadership is recognised by the Strategy as the most significant project for development and implementation. Its outcome will almost certainly impact upon all of the other projects identified in the Strategy.

The Economic Strategy for Melbourne ’s South East has adopted a projects-based approach for the ongoing development and delivery of the Strategy. That is, the essential elements of the Strategy are identifiable projects which can be further specified, assessed and developed in partnership with the State Government and other business, Government and institutional stakeholders.

Key Issues Addressed by the Strategy

The Economic Strategy for Melbourne ’s South East seeks to address the following issues:-

recognition that the Region’s export income and economic drive is essentially provided by a series of industry and activity areas concentrated in the western part of the Region (Monash, Kingston and Dandenong);
identification of the current and likely increasing disparity between areas of employment growth and areas of population growth (the areas of employment growth being concentrated in the western part of the region and the areas of population growth in the outer South East);
the need to improve intra-regional accessibility to facilitate journeys to work and the integrated development of the Region;
confirmation of the manufacturing significance of the Region in a national context, and the need to provide a secure future for ongoing industry development and investment, based on the recognition that future industry development will be increasingly linked to a range of knowledge-based services;
the need to provide quality environments for business services and manufacturing development within improved activity centres and new employment nodes;
the need to foster a partnership approach between the Region’s education and research resources and its manufacturing and business community, to add value to the Region’s export capacities through value-added innovation, research and intellectual development building on existing strengths and capabilities;
recognition of the need to improve the Region’s amenity, liveability and image as integral components of a balanced approach for the long-term sustainability of the Region.

The Strategy
The Economic Strategy for Melbourne ’s South East is a framework of community values and objectives, economic and strategic principles and identified project areas to guide the long term economic and strategic development of the Region. The Strategy is a framework to position the Region to deliver sustainable prosperity and liveability, building on the recognised manufacturing and business strengths of the South-East, and linking these to the Region’s significant education and research resources, and the planning and development of improved activity centres and new world class employment nodes. It comprises:-

an economic framework (refer Figure 4);
a projects framework (refer Figure 5);
a summary of major regional projects and implementation requirements (refer Table 7);
an implementation framework (refer Table 9).
Key components of the Economic Strategy are:-
ongoing development of leadership for Melbourne ’s South East and the joint development and communication of a shared vision for the future prosperity of the Region;
focus on the Mitcham-Frankston Corridor as an integrated employment and transport area with provision of a regional framework to utilise the new access potentials offered by the Tollway and potentials for a new high quality public transit link;
an investment structure to fund infrastructure requirements for the transit cities of the Region;
identification of the critical significance of East-West roads which are essential for effective access in the Region;
provision of an Industrial Land Monitor Program for the Melbourne South-East Region to assess future industrial and business land requirements by type and by regional area;
provision of a regional information system to assist municipalities, government agencies and the business sector in the planning and investment of the Region;
proposed green link to extend the length of Dandenong Creek from the Basin to the Bay. The comprehensive planning of the Creek and its surrounds could achieve a range of amenity, image and liveability benefits in the Region.
It is envisaged that the principal components of the Economic Strategy will be supported by a range of other significant regional projects including:-
the Synchrotron Awareness and Opportunities Project;
Export Clusters Facilitation;
Central Harbour at Frankston;
Water Recycling Project (Eastern Treatment Plant);
Public Transport Service Delivery;
Regional Business-Education Forum.
In the final analysis, the Strategy recognises that the Region’s optimal future requires a new perspective of Melbourne’s South East as an integrated second Melbourne focused to achieve improved and new environments for manufacturing, advanced business services and supporting research and services. The essential message of the Strategy is for a paradigm shift and a view of the Region’s future as being primarily dependent on linking new investments in manufacturing and business services to new and improved activity areas and to substantial improvements in environments and accessibility.
Next Steps

The recommended next steps in the process of the development of the Economic Strategy for Melbourne’s South East are as follows:-

distribution of summaries of the Economic Strategy for Melbourne ’s South East to search conference participants and other stakeholders (by 19th September 2003);
response by search conference participants and other stakeholders (by 10th October 2003);
review of responses by the group of economic managers (by 17th October 2003);
review by member Councils and organisations. Endorsement of the Economic Strategy as a framework to progress the prosperity of the Region (12th December 2003);
official launch of the Economic Strategy (4 February 2004);
commencement of the detailed review, specification and implementation phases of the Economic Strategy (February 2004).