The City of Melbourne is aiming to become one of the best cities on the globe for attracting businesses and jobs of the future, while also supporting traditional strengths such as international education and tourism under the Draft Economic Development Strategy.

The strategy outlines the City of Melbourne’s immediate response to COVID-19 and plans for the next 10 years.

The City of Melbourne is committing to support small businesses by delivering an enhanced business concierge service and streamlining processes such as permits.

A new entity, Invest Melbourne, would be established to facilitate major new investment proposals especially global headquarters and research and development centres.

Competitive innovation districts in City North, Arden and Fishermans Bend would be key to encouraging new industries to support innovation, drive economic growth, create more high-value jobs and attract talent and investment.

Support for students and the recovery and resurgence of Melbourne’s international education sector will include advocating for the safe return of international students in 2022, supporting returning students and establishing a one-stop digital community.

A new tourism entity, Visit Melbourne, would position Melbourne as the premier visitor destination in Australia. Investment in visitor experiences would include the redevelopment of Central Pier in Docklands, as well as the Docklands Media Precinct.

Other highlights in the Draft Strategy include a ‘Post-COVID 3000’ initiative to improve residential affordability in the central city, increase housing supply for city workers and advocate for measures to lower market entry costs.

Ideas include advocating for an exemption on stamp-duty for central city properties and removing land tax for Build-to-Rent developments for a period of two years.

The City of Melbourne engaged with industry and business leaders, precinct associations and state and federal governments to develop the Draft Economic Development Strategy.

Feedback will be sought from businesses and the community via Participate Melbourne.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said Melbourne was one of the fastest growing cities in the developed world, pre-COVID, and she was are committed to nurturing the economic, social and cultural recovery.

“This Draft Economic Development Strategy provides goals and targets to drive growth and encourage new industries to invest in Melbourne. We want to make Melbourne thrive again – and that means supporting new and existing businesses that create jobs for Melburnians,” she said.

“We acted swiftly in response to COVID-19 to assist businesses, deliver essential services and support to the community, and advance recovery and reactivation.

“We know from past pandemics around the world that cities can recover to create a brighter future than they might have imagined, but to do so requires sound policy decisions and planning.”