City and local governments anchor our democracy by providing local communities with opportunities for engagement and collaboration in addressing the needs and interests of living in the 21st century.
However the Melbourne City Council has an expanded responsibility beyond planning for the future of the those who live and do business in the City, given that its capital city role and status impacts directly on metropolitan Melbourne.
The Melbourne City Council has over recent decades developed and implemented polices for the delivery of a more sustainable and liveable City. The Council has been exemplary in setting the bar high in urban sustainability and has received national and international recognition for undertaking work to become a post-carbon and resilient City.
As Melbourne’s metropolitan population grows from its current 4.3 million to an anticipated 7.7 million by 2051, Future Melbourne 2026 should seek a new governance structure that will enhance the City’s role across metropolitan Melbourne and build a post-carbon and resilient Melbourne region.
Whilst the move to a metropolitan authority is I believe where our collective futures lie beyond 2026, the City Council should adopt an interim approach to achieving an increased level of collaboration across metropolitan city governments.
Such an approach would build the capacity of Melbourne metropolitan cities to meet the needs of an increasing population in a carbon restrained world and to become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges of the 21st century.
I therefore believe that the high level of liveability and sustainability afforded the citizens of the City can and should be spread more widely. An interim targeted approach to collaboration across metropolitan city governments would lead us to consider metropolitan governance such as that provided by the Greater London Authority (GLA).
The GLA is governed by the London Assembly and comprises 25 councillors plus the Mayor of London. With a population of 8 million and encompassing 32 boroughs plus the City of London, the GLA may well provide a blueprint for our future. To realise this future, we should over the next decade lay the groundwork for a Greater Melbourne Authority.
I would therefore propose that the Melbourne City Council embark on a Future Melbourne 2016 Collaborative City Agenda and in partnership with city governments metropolitan wide, develop projects and activities that progress toward a post-carbon and resilient region in energy, food, water, waste and transport.
An example of how the Melbourne City Council can initiate and activate a metropolitan wide response to building resilience is ‘Resilient Melbourne’, a Rockefeller Foundation funded initiative that the City of Melbourne delivers in collaboration with the 31 metropolitan Melbourne councils. The project commenced in 2014 with the appointment of a Chief Resilience Officer who will provide a resilience strategy for metropolitan Melbourne, a strategy that will “foster the long-term viability, safety and wellness of our interconnected communities and municipalities”.
Future Melbourne 2026 provides an opportunity for the Melbourne City Council to recognise its role as a Collaborative City working with metropolitan city governments to achieve a post carbon and resilient future for all Melburnians.
These are my ideas, but what are yours? How do you think we could achieve a Collaborative City? I encourage you to take this unique opportunity over the next month to post your ideas to help shape our city into the future.