Arron Wood’s plan to Revive Melbourne
Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood AM is today announcing that he is running for Lord Mayor for the City of Melbourne.
Arron said he is motivated by getting Melbourne back to being an economic powerhouse.
“With Melbourne out of action and on life support, our state suffers, our nation suffers. If we can Revive Melbourne, we can revive the nation,” Arron said.
“The Lord Mayor has a critical role to bring people – and ideas – together and make them happen. The Lord Mayor is the number one advocate for the City of Melbourne, for getting the city what it needs to flourish.
“I have a proven track record of working effectively with all stakeholders to get things done to improve our city for its ratepayers.”
Arron has served on Council for eight years including six months as Acting Lord Mayor and four years as Deputy Lord Mayor. Melbourne was named the World’s Most Liveable City for seven of those eight years.
“I am a rate paying resident and small business person – can any other Lord Mayoral candidate claim to be as well?” Arron said.
“Reviving Melbourne is my only motivation. It’s fine to cut ribbons and rub shoulders but I’m more interested in getting things done, in reviving Melbourne for our ratepayers.
“I am not beholden to any political groups, corporate interests or developers. With me what you see is what you get and if you vote for me, you get me.”
This year, Arron received the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant contribution to local government, the environment and the community.
“Melbourne needs stronger advocacy for our ratepayers to the Victorian Government, Federal Government and powerful corporate players in our city,” Arron said.
“It’s no secret that I will call out the State Government or Federal Government if I don’t think their plans are in the interests of City of Melbourne ratepayers and my track record clearly demonstrates that. /3
“I feel that we are not being treated seriously at the moment; we are being dictated to and I just won’t cop that.”
Arron (44) is the founder of the multi award winning not-for-profit environmental education program Kids Teaching Kids, a former Prime Minister’s Young Environmentalist of the Year, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Al Gore’s Climate Change Leadership Program alumni, Churchill Fellowship graduate and has sat on several boards. He won a Melbourne Business Award in 2007 and Telstra Micro Business of the Year Award in 2012. His full bio is available here.
Nominations for candidates open on 17 September 2020, with the election period concluding on 24 October 2020. The results will be declared by 14 November 2020.
Arron’s top five priorities
1. Get people back to the office
I have spent recent weeks and months speaking with the people at the coalface: industry associations, corporate Melbourne, small business owners, tourism operators, start-ups, building owners. They have surveyed their workforce and the pattern is remarkably similar. One third of our workers are desperate to return the city for a range of reasons including mental health considerations and inadequate set-ups at home.
Bring them back first! COVID safe work plans are a must, as is social distancing, using sanitiser and masks – that’s already the case. Many industries have worked throughout this time – Aussie Post, distribution centres, transport and logistics. We need a staggered, sensible approach, but it’s time to get back to work. A look forward to seeing what the Premier announces today to enable us to begin reviving Melbourne.
2. Shop the city, Eat in the city, Drink in the City: a block by block precinct based event strategy
Working with the Australian Hotels Association, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the City of Melbourne’s own liquor licensing forums, which are already precinct based, I will create a calendar of weekly block-by-block events. These mini-festivals will see our retailers and hospitality venues offer discounts, promotions, activations and giveaways, as we manage the foot traffic to keep people safe.
The City of Melbourne has strong existing partnerships and links with our retail and hospitality sectors: we know how to work with them to put on a great day or night out. That’s going to be so important to breathe some life in to these struggling industries as COVID restrictions ease.
3. Recognise the pressure on our ratepayers
Our ratepayers are doing it bloody tough. This is why I advocated for the zero per cent rate rise in the City of Melbourne’s last budget. One of the biggest challenges we face in Melbourne is the cost of living pressure an economic downturn places on individuals, families and households.
Reviving our businesses will have the most significant positive impact on our residents and mum and dad investors. It will mean that they and their loved ones have jobs, it will provide them with the lifestyle they enjoyed before this pandemic hit and it will mean that once again they can rent out their investment properties.
4. Revive the construction boom
Current city planning controls are stifling commercial development and reducing property values. Scaling back the controls would create thousands of new jobs and increase property values in the CBD.
We can relax the planning controls but still have superior urban design, sustainability outcomes and better apartment guidelines. We can find the middle ground.
We must accelerate our building works program, aiming high. It’s time to bring on E-Gate, Fishermans Bend and Metro 2. We need to support the construction sector and have our tradies busy building infrastructure for future generations.
My experience on SBS’ Filthy Rich and Homeless showed me that we need more homes, largely because people slip through the cracks. As housing is largely a state and federal government issue, local government often over promises and under delivers.
I am committed to doing what City of Melbourne has control over and can see through to fruition, including:
· Appointing the first local government Chief Homelessness Advocate to work with State Government to turbocharge social housing and identify gaps in wrap-around services
· Double funding to our joint operation with homelessness agencies, Salvos and Victoria Police, to get our remaining rough sleepers, with highly complex mental health and addiction issues, off our streets.
· Building 200 affordable homes on council owned land.