The conversation

The Inclusive Melbourne Strategy is a major initiative of Council Plan 2021-25. It outlines how the City of Melbourne will embrace the diversity of cultures, ages, genders, sexualities, backgrounds, religions and abilities of the people who live, work, study and visit the city.

Gathering insights

The draft Inclusive Melbourne Strategy was released for feedback from 20 October to 21 November 2021.

Participants could complete an online survey that consisted of two feedback questions (one quantitative (ranking), one open text box), and seven demographic/characteristic questions.

The draft strategy was sent back to participants of the focus groups and the Inclusive Recovery workshops; it was also sent to community networks from across the Community Development and Community Services branches of City of Melbourne.

The draft strategy was also presented for feedback at the following networks (reaching an additional 42 people) across the municipality:

  • Docklands Agency Collective
  • Kensington Community Network
  • North Melbourne Agency Network.

Who we reached


website visitors



Who we heard from

22 per cent

are living with a disability

29 per cent

speak a language other than English at home

2 per cent

identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

25 per cent

identify as LGBTQIA+

59 per cent

are female

26 per cent are male, 11 per cent prefer not to say, 3 per cent are non-binary or gender diverse

45 per cent

are residents

17 per cent are workers, 14 per cent are business owners, 14 per cent are visitors, 2 per cent are students and 9 per cent are other

31 per cent

aged 31-40 years

23 per cent: 51-60 years, 19 per cent: 41-50 years, 13 per cent: 26-30 years, 6 per cent: 18-25 years, 5 per cent: 71 years+, 3 per cent: 61-70 years.

Some of the groups that we heard from include:

  • Transgender Victoria
  • Melbourne School of Design (PhD), University of Melbourne
  • Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Hacker Exchange
  • Melbourne Social Equity Institute, University of Melbourne
  • Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
  • City of Melbourne Families & Children Advisory Committee member
  • Council of International Students Australia
  • Council to Homeless Persons
  • VicPride
  • Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Divtal
  • Affordable Housing Hallmark Initiative, University of Melbourne
  • City of Melbourne Disability Advisory Panel member
  • Victorian Multicultural Commission
  • Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria.

What we heard

General understanding of inclusion

Across all the community groups there were similarities in the understanding of inclusion such as feeling a sense of belonging, having a voice in community decisions, and visible signs of inclusion (e.g. diversity).

There were also areas of inclusion specific to individual community groups. For example, visual signs to indicate being welcome were viewed as important for Aboriginal communities and those from the LGBTQIA+ community, whereas acceptance of faiths and languages were important to Muslim women.

Perceptions of inclusion in the City of Melbourne

There was a mixed response to the perceptions of the level of inclusion the City of Melbourne currently achieves. While there was a strong perception that it was diverse due to the visible presence of multiculturalism, there was recognition that some groups continue to face significant barriers to participation in all aspects of social, economic, physical and cultural life in the City of Melbourne.

  • Respondents raised the importance of inclusion, describing it as “important”, “essential”, or “the right way forward”, though they emphasised the hard work needed to achieve less concrete outcomes like “a sense of belonging.” A small number of other comments stressed the importance of including community members in the process of developing the Strategy.
  • The importance of inclusion was highlighted by a number of respondents, who expressed a desire to live in a society that cares for all people, including the most vulnerable groups as well as all other members of society.
  • Due to the timing of the consultation, a number of respondents made broader comments about ‘inclusivity’ of vaccine mandates and political responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall the community comments support and affirm the strategy thereby no substantive changes to the strategy were required.


Overall the community comments support and affirm the strategy thereby no substantive changes to the strategy were required. The below changes were made to the strategy in line with the Council Resolution from 19 October 2021 and to further strengthen the evidence base included throughout the document.

  • All public facing information and documentation to be underpinned by the Universal Design Principles in line with Council Resolution from 19 October 2021.
  • Additional contextual information included about existing long standing social and economic barriers experienced by community prior to the Covid 19 pandemic and how these have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • Further minor content changes have been made to maintain consistency throughout the document.

Read the final strategy

Inclusive Melbourne Strategy