Regional Development VictoriaRDA Western Melbourne

State Government of Victoria


Projects

WMRDA is involved in a range of regional projects that aim to address issues faced by Melbourne’s West.

  • Future Workforce Planning Strategy: This major project will analyse what employers require from their workforce now, future skills needs, and what training will be needed to give employees those skills over the coming decades. MORE…
  • Prospectus for the West: This publication will present the region’s advantages to businesses and investors, providing the information they need to make an informed decision when planning future growth and development. MORE…
  • Business West 21: This project is establishing a regional business group that will focus on maximising local innovation, investment and business growth. MORE…
  • Open Innovation West: Through this project, LeadWest and WMRDA are providing a pilot business roundtable with the tools and facilitation required to conduct open innovation. MORE…
  • Building Healthy Communities in Melbourne’s West: Through work with a local primary school, this project built on the work previously undertaken as part of the African Australian Health in the West project to improve the health and wellbeing of the school community. MORE…
  • Into Community Education Retention: WMRDA has initiated a pilot project to trial ways to keep young people at school during their critical mid-secondary years. MORE…
  • Digital technology: This project helped businesses of all sizes across the region to maximise the opportunities offered by digital technology. MORE…
  • Education strategy: This strategy aims to improve education outcomes and skill levels, in conjunction with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (Western Region). MORE…
  • Low Carbon West: This project will help businesses to reduce costs by transitioning to a more sustainable low carbon basis through practical and evidence-based action. MORE…
  • Jobs and Industry Strategy for the West: This project resulted in a regional industrial profile and implementation plan that lists actions required to capture future industry development; implementation is continuing. MORE…
  • Transport advocacy: WMRDA works in partnership with LeadWest and other regional groups to advocate for improved transport links in the region. MORE…
  • Regional Planning Directors’ Group: WMRDA has facilitated establishment of the Regional Planning Directors’ Group to address planning issues of regional concern and to provide a regional response to state and federal government planning issues. MORE…
  • Business incubator network: Establishing a business incubator network in the west will provide the services and environment necessary to assist local small businesses to establish and grow. MORE…
  • Community Health Screening: This project conducted screenings for 2000 Centrelink clients in Melbourne’s west which revealed that residents’ health indicators are significantly worse than national average figures. MORE…
  • African/Australian Health in the West: The aim of this WMRDA pilot project was to improve the health and wellbeing of the African community. MORE…
  • Sustainable Employment & Economic Development (SEED): This project provides unemployed young people with on-the-job skill development and real life outcomes. MORE…

Future Workforce Planning Strategy

This major project will analyse what skills employers require, and what training will be needed to give employees those skills over the coming decades. In particular, the strategy will look at the actions required to address the decline of manufacturing jobs, barriers to people acquiring knowledge economy skills, improving pathways to training and employment, and enhancing the employability of older workers.

Due to the diverse range of businesses and services within the region, skill shortages will have a significant impact on industry and its ability to respond to external market forces. This strategy will help to shape the region’s workforce and ensure it has the capacity to deliver business and industry objectives into the future.

Partners: LeadWest, local businesses.

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Prospectus for the West

A prospectus for Melbourne’s west will present the region’s advantages to businesses and investors, providing the information they need to make an informed decision when planning future growth and development. The publication will present key features of the region such as proximity to the Melbourne CBD, large number of greenfield sites, a resident population with diverse skills, and ready access to ports, airports and major roads.

Rapid population growth underpins the urgent need to attract investment and grow local businesses and jobs. The prospectus will supply information on why the west is advantageous as an investment destination.

Partners: LeadWest, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, local businesses.

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Business West 21

The region lacks an industry group that can represent the needs and views of regional business. WMRDA and LeadWest brought together businesses that are willing to do the work to initiate such a group. Their focus is on attracting new investment and business development into the region and informing government about the needs of businesses in the west.

Membership is open to all businesses that have an employment and investment commitment to the region. Peter Gordon, President of Western Bulldogs, has agreed to be interim Chair of the group, and the project was driven by the efforts of local advocates the Hon. Lyn Kosky and Jim Williamson. A prospectus has been developed with a focus on a number of key regional priorities around jobs, investment and infrastructure needs, and this was launched in October 2014.

Download the Business West 21 Prospectus (PDF 837.0 KB)

Partners: LeadWest, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Department of Employment, Business West 21 members.

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Open Innovation West

LeadWest and WMRDA are providing a pilot business roundtable with the tools and facilitation required to conduct open innovation. Because processes, technology and global markets are becoming more and more complex, it is increasingly difficult for companies to rely on their own staff and resources for R&D and for finding solutions to in-house problems that impede business growth. The objective of the project is to grow open innovation among businesses across the region. A collaboration of open innovators in the west will result in businesses sharing ideas and knowledge and solving problems together across different industry sectors. Workshops have identified specific projects that are being explored for future actions. These include automation options, communication technologies, new materials opportunities, process improvements and manufacturing flexibility.

Partners: LeadWest, local businesses.

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Building Healthy Communities in Melbourne’s West

This project addressed the health and wellbeing issues of a disadvantaged primary school in Brimbank through establishment of sustainable health-based programs and development of partnerships between the school and local community organisations. Centred on the funding of a mindfulness garden and a major health promotion event, school activities focused on health during the year and involvement of medical and dental students from the University of Melbourne underpinned key messages.

Download the Building Healthy Communities in Melbourne’s West Wave 3 report (PDF 2.5 MB)
Download the Building Healthy Communities in Melbourne’s West final report (PDF 4.2 MB)

Partners: Brimbank City Council, Macedon Ranges and North Western Melbourne Medicare Local, University of Melbourne, Victoria Police, Deer Park North Primary School.

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Into Community Education Retention

WMRDA and partners are working with targeted secondary schools in the region to improve Years 9 and 10 retention and performance. These years have been identified as the critical years when many students disengage from the school system as they find the curriculum less than compelling.

Melbourne’s west has school retention rates that are lower than the metropolitan average, and this issue is particularly important to local employers as reduced involvement in education and training leads to early school leaving, under performance by capable students and a reduction in the long term skill and knowledge base in the region. The pilot gives students the opportunity to be involved in a varied curriculum that includes community engagement and its success will contribute towards improving educational outcomes.

Partners: Victoria University, Department of Employment, Education and Early Childhood Development, local secondary schools, The Substation.

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Digital technology

This project helped businesses of all sizes across the region to maximise the opportunities offered by digital technology. After completing a digital technology usage survey, each participant received an individual report benchmarking their usage against their industry and identifying gaps and opportunities. Stage 2 of the project involved identifying best practice local software and services vendors, briefing them on what businesses need and holding a series of free, targeted workshops. Groups of four providers held workshops between January and June 2014 across metropolitan Melbourne on topics including mobile apps and mobility management; wireless, VOIP, teleconferencing and more; cloud computing; outsourcing IT activities; advantages of cloud accounting; IT strategies to enhance business; social media and online trends; and getting found on Google. Additional workshops are being held in 2014-2015.

Partners: Melbourne metropolitan RDAs, local government.

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Education strategy

A clear goal for the west is to improve education outcomes and skill levels. Discussions have been held with the Department of Education and Training (Western Region) to work out how this can be best addressed.

This will require a whole of government approach with the Education Department, schools in the west, Victoria University and related community organisations. The strategy will investigate reasons for the lower educational outcomes for the community of the west and look at strategies to address these. Increased community awareness of education and employment options and adult education will need to be included as part of a holistic strategy. The strategy will also include an implementation plan with recommended monitoring and evaluation methods.

Partners: Department of Education and Training, local government.

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Low Carbon West

Businesses today are faced with increasing energy costs, which is adversely affecting their growth and profitability. WMRDA and partners worked together on a plan to transition the regional economy to a more sustainable low carbon basis through practical and evidence-based action.

Showing businesses how to find ways to reduce energy costs and wastage will increase economic productivity and environmental sustainability across the region. Also, a study of baseline greenhouse gas emissions across Melbourne’s west has estimated that there will be a 15 per cent growth in emissions from the region by 2020. Structural changes contributing to this significant difference include rapid population growth, changing demographics, new housing and transport choices and a changing mix of employment.

Results from this project are being disseminated to demonstrate to businesses how to increase their production efficiencies and decrease energy costs and wastage.

Partners: LeadWest, Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action, local government.

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Jobs and Industry Strategy for the West

This project produced a regional industrial profile and implementation plan that lists actions required to capture future industry development. It identified current and future industry trends and factors behind these trends; actions needed to meet emerging skill needs; strategies needed to facilitate creative and innovative industry development; associated infrastructure requirements; and drivers of industry growth and diversification. The implementation plan outlines actions required to meet emerging skills needs, identify associated infrastructure requirements and facilitate innovative industry development.

Recommendations from the report led to the development of new projects, including:

  • Open Innovation West
  • formation of Business West 21
  • the Digital Technology project, designed to assist businesses to improve productivity and grow profits
  • In To Community, which is looking at improving school retention for young people in the region; the report identified that a lack of skilled and trained staff was a barrier to business growth
  • a Transport to Employment survey of businesses in Laverton that identified ongoing issues for businesses and jobseekers relating to transport to employment hubs; as a consequence the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation requested the Department of Planning, Transport and Local Infrastructure to change bus routes.
Download the report A Jobs and Industry Strategy for Melbourne's West (PDF 6.8 MB)

Partners: LeadWest, local government.

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Transport advocacy

WMRDA works in partnership with LeadWest and the Western Transport Alliance to advocate for improved transport links in the region to enhance economic development and business growth. Examples of project advocacy include Westlink, the Regional Rail Link and the Truck Action Plan.

Partners: LeadWest, Western Region Transport Alliance, local government.

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Regional Planning Directors’ Group

WMRDA facilitated establishment of the Regional Planning Directors’ Group to address planning issues of regional concern and to provide a regional response to state and federal government planning issues. Meetings are held regularly. A regional response to Plan Melbourne was developed by the group and signed by each of the six local government CEOs. The group is conducting a series of regional professional development sessions for all planners from each of the councils in Melbourne’s west.

Partners: Local government.

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Business incubator network

WMRDA conducted a study which showed that establishing a business incubator network in the west will provide the services and environment necessary to assist local small businesses to establish and grow.

The network will provide affordable rent, flexible space, mentoring, networking, services, support and advice. Tenant businesses will eventually ‘graduate’ into the region at different rates depending on business type, progress and individual circumstances. There will be opportunities for established businesses in the region to work with and mentor incubator businesses.

In 2013, the City of Melton was successful in obtaining $14.6m from the Suburban Jobs Growth program to put towards its $21m Western Business Accelerator Centre for Excellence in Toolern. WMRDA is working with Melton and other councils in the region to develop a network of regional business incubators.

Partners: LeadWest, local government.

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Community Health Screening

WMRDA’s Community Health Screening conducted for 2000 Centrelink clients in Melbourne’s west revealed that residents’ health indicators (such as probable type 2 diabetes, obesity, tobacco and alcohol consumption) are significantly worse than national average figures. When people are in poor health, this affects their ability to fully participate in the workforce and in community and family life generally. Unemployment and under-employment can contribute to depression, substance abuse and other health issues like obesity, which in turn make it harder to get work – a real ‘catch 22’ situation.

The free, voluntary and confidential health screens targeted a population (including under and unemployed people, and immigrants and refugees) who find it hard to access healthcare for a variety of reasons, such as financial, language and cultural barriers. Based on its findings, the project made a series of recommendations that have been made available to Australian Government and Victorian Government health ministers for their consideration and for input into health policies and strategies. Other regions in Victoria and NSW have run the pilot in their areas.

Download the Community Health Screening report (PDF 4.7 MB)

Partners: Centrelink, University of Melbourne, PreventionXpress, Western Centre for Health Research and Education.

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African/Australian Health in the West

Poor health results evidenced by WMRDA’s Community Health Screening project were found to be magnified for African migrants and refugees, and this project aimed to improve the health and wellbeing of the African community in the City of Brimbank by addressing their risk factors for chronic disease.

While this group showed high levels of poor health indicators, they also expressed a particular interest in their health and a willingness to learn more about health matters. Based at a local primary school, the project achieved improved health and wellbeing of community participants, and changed knowledge, attitude and behaviours. It provided the opportunity for extensive community engagement. It also led to a further project, Building Healthy Communities in the West, which is open to all communities and based at a different primary school in Brimbank.

Download the report African Australian Health in the West (PDF 3.0 MB)

Partners: University of Melbourne, Macedon Ranges and North Western Melbourne Medicare Local, Western Region Health Centre, City of Brimbank, Sunshine Harvester Primary School.

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Sustainable Employment & Economic Development (SEED)

The SEED project targeted unemployed young people 16–25 from a broad range of cultural backgrounds and provides them with on-the-job skill development and the real life outcomes that come with having a job, being able to support themselves and contributing to the community.

Project staff support participants by providing a range of work and life skills to prepare them for entry into the workforce. Staff also work closely with employers to provide a range of flexible work placement options. Once a placement commences, support is provided to the young person and to the workplace mentor to ensure the success of the placement. The project addresses the disadvantage and disconnection experienced by many young people transitioning into the workforce or further training – in particular, people living in public housing or from a culturally and linguistically diverse or refugee background.

Established in November 2011, the project also supported 252 young people to develop employment pathway plans. Of these, 225 are now in employment or training.

Partners: Moonee Valley City Council, Hobsons Bay City Council, Maribyrnong City Council, City of Melbourne.

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Regional Matters Spotlight


Last Updated: 04 January 2018