Regional Development VictoriaRDA Southern Melbourne

State Government of Victoria

Regional snapshot

  • The Southern Melbourne RDA (SMRDA) region covers 2886 square kilometres. A wide spread (70 kilometres from end to end and across 10 municipalities) makes it an extremely diverse, complex mix of demography and geography.
  • The population is 1.3 million people, just under a third of Melbourne’s total population.
  • The region has approximately 291,000 working aged people, not currently in education, who have completed Year 12. This comprises about 60% of the total regional population.
  • School retention rates vary across the region, from 85% in Stonnington to 41% in Cardinia. Low completion rates are of concern in the municipalities of Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula, with only 61% of students who started at Year 7 completing Year 12.
  • Residents of the inner municipal cluster have the highest weekly household incomes, with 30% of Bayside and Stonnington and 27% of Port Phillip households earning over $2000 per week. The outer cluster municipalities have the highest proportion of households earning a median income, with 37% of Casey and 36% of Cardinia households earning between $1000 and $2000 a week. Greater Dandenong and Mornington Peninsula are the municipalities that have the highest number of residents earning low weekly incomes ($1–$499 per week).
  • The region has a highly diversified business base, with approximately 132,000 businesses.
  • Small and micro businesses form the engine room of the region’s economy, with a massive 86% of businesses employing between 0 and 4 people. Only 0.7% of regional businesses employ 100+ people. The majority of big employers are manufacturing companies in Greater Dandenong and property and business services companies in Port Phillip.
  • The major industry sectors in the southern region are manufacturing, wholesale, retail, property and business services, and construction.
  • Manufacturing continues to be a key driver of regional prosperity with 35% of the regional output and 75% of the exporting output, to the total value of $35.6B per annum.
  • Professionals (21%) and clerical/salespeople (14.8%) form the bulk of the occupational workforce, slightly lower than the Melbourne average of 22% and 15.9%.
  • The region also has a slightly higher proportion of managers (13.3%) and labourers (9.4%) than the Melbourne average of 12.5% and 8.8% respectively.
  • The region’s workforce number (excluding unemployment) is 698,937, comprising approximately 33% of the total Melbourne workforce.
  • Residents are employed in two main industries – almost a quarter in wholesale and retail trade (20.2%) and slightly fewer in education, health and community services (17%). A high number of residents also work in manufacturing (14.2%), and property and business services (13.6%).
  • As an average, the region has a low unemployment rate but this masks notable differences across the municipalities and several pockets of high disadvantage. The average unemployment rate for the region as at June 2009 was 4.9% (comprising 34,954 people), slightly lower than the Melbourne average of 5%.

Major emerging priorities for the region are:

  • infrastructure and transport – the need for radial change, particularly to adequately service the Central Activity Districts of Dandenong and Frankston and the outer parts of the region
  • freight – planning for industry growth, including linking commercial hubs to transport corridors along with development of the Port of Hastings and an intermodal port
  • retaining and expanding manufacturing in the region
  • assessing the potential for growth in agriculture in Casey, Cardinia and Mornington Peninsula
  • supporting skills acquisition and creating employment.


RDA Southern Melbourne logo

Regional Matters Spotlight

Last Updated: 15 April 2016