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Let’s think about a big vision for post-COVID Melbourne

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Ellen Sandell
State MP for Melbourne
19 August 2021

The pandemic has been tough for the Melbourne CBD and it may have changed the way we use the CBD forever. So what do we do? 

Office workers, international students and tourists once fuelled the daytime buzz and economy of the city. We don’t know when, or how many, will come back.

The arts, live music and creative industries have also been decimated.

So, what do we do instead?

When other cities have experienced big shocks and recessions, they have shown that creative industries can lead to a resurgence in the economy and jobs. Cities like Newcastle, Christchurch and Berlin have all taken steps to attract the arts and new industries after a crisis. These cities have also made themselves more livable for long term residents.

After COVID, once we’re all finally vaccinated, Melbourne could transform from a city that’s driven by 9-5 office workers, to a city that’s more about attracting people for unique experiences around the clock. It could start with curated events and festivals, but can’t stop there. It needs to be backed up with policies such as rent caps for creative industries, and a change to the Federal Government policies that currently encourage landlords to keep shopfronts empty rather than rent them out for a discount.

We already have a world-class biomedical precinct. But we need policies like subsidised rents to bring technology and biomedical companies here for the longer term.

Finally, we can build community and foster a larger permanent resident population in Melbourne, with a more livable inner-city for residents. That means busting congestion and street safety issues, containing construction and short stays and creating more micro green and public spaces in our laneways. All of this will obviously rely on an improved vaccine rollout, but once this happens, let’s not constrain our thinking and just try to get Melbourne back to ‘where it was before’.

Let’s think about a big vision for what Melbourne could be.

What are your ideas for a post-COVID Melbourne? Email me: [email protected]

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Ellen Sandell
State MP for Melbourne
19 August 2021
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