Media Release: Bold plan for Melburnians to live and work with virus

1 Oct 2020

, Media

UDIA Victoria Media Release

A proactive return to office-based work, a socially distanced events calendar, and the homecoming of ex-patriot Australians are just some of the bold ideas proposed by the Victorian Division of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA Victoria) in its Recovery and Revival Plan for Melbourne’s CBD and Central City, released today.

“COVID-19 shutdowns have had a disproportionately devastating impact on Melbourne’s CBD and central city, which is the geographic epicentre of Victorian jobs,” said UDIA Victoria chief executive Danni Hunter.

“Victoria’s success has been largely driven by population growth. But with travel restrictions and declining employment opportunities, there’s little doubt we’ve lost our competitive edge against other Australian cities in attracting both people and investment,” said Ms Hunter.

“We need a bold, proactive plan to bring our city back to life – things like staggered office hours, supported by alternate school times and a revised public transport schedule to make that happen safely.”

UDIA Victoria’s visionary strategy to reactivate the city sets out six areas requiring action from both government and mid-large sized businesses.

  • Build confidence and trust

Government must adjust the public discourse to focus on how we will live with the virus, rather than only plan for the highly ambitious task of total elimination. This is needed to restore overall public and community confidence and empowerment as we look to reopen.

  • Increase transport capacity and safety

A whole-of-network approach to public transport must be adopted to increase the capacity and safety of public, active and vehicular transport networks.

  • Return to office-based working 

Big business must take a leadership role in bringing their workers back to the city at the appropriate time. A commitment from business leaders and CEOs to be proactive in this effort will determine the success of this initiative.

  • Open borders to support short- and long- term immigration

The Victorian Government needs to advocate for the responsible and appropriate reopening of national and interstate borders, plus consider interim sources of migration such as ex-patriot Australians returning home.

  • Reinvent and leverage Melbourne’s event calendar

We must add new events to the calendar with a focus on driving foot traffic in the Melbourne CBD and accommodating dispersed activity. For example, city-wide treasure hunts or cycle challenges.

  • Supercharge built form opportunities

We can unlock Melbourne’s potential competitive advantage by proactively pursuing built form development opportunities to position Melbourne as the ‘Project Capital’ of Australia.

Key statistics

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) payroll jobs data shows that inner Melbourne had a 10.3% reduction in jobs from March to August – the worst affected area in Australia.
  • The latest ABS labour force data shows that Victoria’s unemployment rates increased from 6.8% in July, to 7.1% in the month of August – higher than the national average.
  • The City of Melbourne expects daily visitation in 2020-21 to decrease to 64% of pre-COVID-19 figures and a survey shows 7.5% of food businesses have closed permanently, with a further 8% considering closing.
  • With our international and interstate borders closed, one in every 10 homes in Melbourne’s CBD is sitting vacant as a result of the pandemic.

Click here to learn more about the UDIA Victoria Recovery and Revival Plan for Melbourne’s CBD and Central City.

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Hyatt Nidam

Engagement and Communications Manager, UDIA Victoria


T: 03 9832 9600

M: 0478 415 105