Former Premier in Brimbank to discuss health, education and jobs needs
Brimbank Councillors met with former State Premier Steve Bracks, Chair of the West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance (WoMEDA), to discuss strategies to address poor health, education and employment outcomes across Melbourne’s West.
Brimbank Mayor Cr Margaret Giudice said the meeting discussed the recent WoMEDA Economic Development Strategy – which calls for urgent investment in “catch-up” programs across the West.
“The WoMEDA report – overseen by senior community leaders in Melbourne’s West and chaired by former Premier Steve Bracks – acknowledges that we have a real problem with ‘considerably poorer’ health, education and jobs outcomes in this community, compared with Melbourne averages.
“For example, in Brimbank about 33 per cent of people aged 15 and older are not in employment, education or training – well above the Greater Melbourne rate of 27.3 per cent,” Cr Giudice said.
The WoMEDA Strategy recommends major job clusters be developed around Sunshine, Footscray and Werribee. Both Sunshine and Werribee are areas which Plan Melbourne identified as National Employment and Innovation Clusters.
“Demand for jobs in Melbourne’s West is expected to increase – by 2030, it’s estimated 100,000 more people will be looking for jobs in the West, than there are jobs available.
“Council is pleased that Sunshine is identified as one of six metropolitan National Employment and Innovation Clusters in the State Government’s Plan Melbourne. The cluster includes the Sunshine Wellbeing and Education Precinct, which is undergoing strategic land use and development work to build its capacity to accommodate significant growth in health and education services, and has the potential to accommodate more than 7,200 jobs by 2051.
“By investing in local employment clusters we not only create more jobs for our local communities – but we reduce traffic congestion due to people needing to travel for employment,” Cr Giudice said.
The WoMEDA Strategy recommends the introduction of five-year targets for the Department of Health and the Department of Education to bring key outcomes in the west up to Melbourne’s averages. It also calls for the introduction of an independent West of Melbourne Education Performance Monitor.
Brimbank Councillors also met with Professor Peter Dawkins AO (Vice-Chancellor and President of Victoria University and Deputy Chair of WoMEDA) and Professor Rodney Maddock (Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow of Victoria University).
“Council was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss these important issues with former Premier Bracks and his WoMEDA colleagues.
“Council has a strong focus on advocating for investment to address significant, health, wellbeing and social challenges facing our community – the WoMEDA strategy recommendations support Council’s calls for investment to meet challenges across education, health and jobs participation,” Cr Giudice said.
Brimbank Council has written to major political parties seeking commitments to fund “catch-up” programs – as recommended in the Strategy – following a resolution at the June 2018 Ordinary Council Meeting.
“It is time for our State and Federal Governments to invest in the West so that our communities can thrive,” Cr Giudice said.