An overview of the strategy development process is set out in Figure 1. It can be seen that the Economic Strategy has been developed in several phases:-
State of the region assessments which comprised:-
stakeholder workshops with regional and industry representatives (see Regional Search Conference, pages 6-7);
comparative economic analyses focused on identifying key characteristics of the Melbourne South East Region in relation to other areas in metropolitan Melbourne and Victoria (see Context, pages 8-20);
regional input/output analyses which identified the principal economic drivers of the region and patterns of dependency within the Melbourne South East Region ;
an economic cluster study which identified current and potential industry sectors for export development (Cluster Identification Strategy – South East Region, August 2002);
analyses of employment trends in the region, based on information from employment forecasts for metropolitan Melbourne prepared for the former Department of Infrastructure;
regional assessments of open space and amenity resources and the identification of potentials to improve the region’s liveability (Analysis prepared by Chris Dance Land Design, August 2002);
State Initiatives and Melbourne 2030
An important part of the context for the Economic Development Strategy has been set by several State initiatives and the progressive development of the new strategy for metropolitan Melbourne (Melbourne 2030). Initiatives of significance for the Economic Development Strategy include:-
the Mitcham-Frankston Transport Corridor;
the Synchrotron Development;
designation of Transit Cities as part of Melbourne 2030. There are four transit cities identified in the Melbourne South East Region:-
- Box Hill;
the identification of a network of activity centres (principal and major centres) for integrated commercial and mixed-use development;
the identification of a principal public transport network (PPTN) to service the region;
confirmation of the Green Wedge and designation of the Urban Growth Boundary which are likely to have critical ramifications for the Melbourne South East Region.
Regional Economic Evaluations
The state of the region and context assessments were brought together in a strategic analysis of the region’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The analyses identified:-
the region’s key current and emerging strengths and resources;
critical strategic weaknesses/threats for sustainable prosperity;
important opportunities afforded by new developments, new initiatives and infrastructure investments;
challenges and requirements for the Economic Development Strategy.
Regional Search Conference
The strategy partners consulted broadly with the community and business via a Search Conference held in September 2001. Concerns about the sustained prosperity of the Region were again reiterated.
The priority issues identified by the Search Conference were:-
Education, Training and Skills: Schooling in the region is not keeping up with population movements. Links between education and business needs are poorly developed. Trade training requires a more strategic approach and there is a need to improve perceptions of manufacturing as a career option.
Leadership: Harnessing private sector commitment is essential to regional prosperity. Local government is often seen as a constrainer rather than facilitator of investment and economic development.
Liveability: Infrastructure investment must keep pace with the Region’s growth, otherwise South East Melbourne runs the risk of slippage as a magnet for talent and private sector investment.
Marketing: Greater inter-community collaboration is required to forge a strong regional identity for investment marketing purposes.
Business Development: Taking domestically focused manufacturing to an export mindset is a priority. The region also requires high technology precincts to accelerate development in the local knowledge economy. There is a major challenge in finding jobs for the Region’s burgeoning population.
Preparation of the Economic Strategy for Melbourne ’s South East responded directly to identified issues and challenges drawn from the regional economic evaluations. The Strategy presents an integrated structure comprising:-
a regional vision, values and objectives to ensure that the Strategy is directed to a balance of economic, social and liveability objectives;
economic and strategic principles to provide a clear rationale for the development of the Strategy;
identified project areas for regional and municipal programs and initiatives.
The Implementation Framework has addressed several considerations including:-
a framework for the identification and evaluation of projects;
an overview of the implementation process and the identification of milestones for projects;
specification of the next steps in the progression of the Strategy.