Visionary approach required to deliver new ‘satellite city’ in Werribee

In its fifth landmark report, the West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance (WoMEDA) identifies Werribee, with its booming population, as a logical location to develop a new satellite city in Melbourne’s west.

The population of Wyndham, home to a proposed satellite city in Werribee, will near 500,000 by the year 2040, positioning it as one of Melbourne’s largest suburban centres. Already it is bigger and growing faster than Greater Geelong and is on track to be larger than Bendigo and Ballarat combined in the next 15 years.

Chair of WoMEDA, former Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University, Professor Peter Dawkins said the long-term need for the satellite city is compelling and requires a visionary approach for the Werribee precinct.

“As Melbourne’s west rapidly grows, the number one challenge for our region will be to deliver more local jobs closer to where people live,” Professor Dawkins said.

“Pre-COVID, some 60 per cent of workers commuted out of the region every day for work that is more than 60,000 residents from Wyndham. Based on current projections, this figure will rise to almost 110,000 commuters from Wyndham by 2036.

“There’s no doubt the case for people working closer to home has been heavily impacted by COVID, boosting the case for the development of three main employment precincts in the west of Melbourne: Footscray in the inner west; Sunshine in the middle west and Werribee in the outer west.

“Based on population and labour force growth projections, Wyndham will need to create an additional 85,000 local jobs, with 70 per cent of these jobs likely to come from five key industries, including health and social assistance, professional services, education, construction, and accommodation and food services,” he said.

Executive Officer of LeadWest, Sue La Greca welcomes the report and said that improving transport connectivity and social amenity will be critical to unlocking the full potential of a new satellite city.

“Enhancing connectivity and liveability will be critical to creating a powerful heart for Werribee and Wyndham,” Ms La Greca said.

“The creation of a new satellite city in Werribee will help ease the congestion challenges for Melbourne, boost employment options closer to where people live, generate new and exciting industries and learning opportunities, and deliver more health and community services for our region.”

Outside of major transport projects, the Victorian Government has recently allocated more than $400m to invest in to a range of projects in Werribee and Wyndham. These include a new legal precinct, an expansion to the Werribee Open Range Zoo, a new community hospital in Point Cook, multiple school projects, and a new sustainability innovation hub at Victoria University’s campus.

WoMEDA’s key recommendations in the Werribee Precinct: A vibrant satellite city for Melbourne report include:

  1. Recognise Wyndham as a major satellite city within Melbourne.
  1. Create a powerful heart for the region by developing the East Werribee Precinct as the highest priority. Adopt the “Clean Economy” theme for the precinct.
  1. Design the Precinct to concentrate on providing high quality services to the broader region:
    • professional services
    • administrative services
    • scientific, technical and educational services.
  1. Concentrate new assets in the Precinct:
    • a major government services concentration
    • significant hospital, medical and care facilities
    • a technical university campus
    • relocated and new government research facilities.
  1. Impose very high design, deep-green, standards:
    • commit to sustainability in design, construction and operation
    • aim to create architectural highlights and keynote buildings
    • develop an integrated transport system
    • build for a post-Covid environment – facilitate remote working.
  1. Consider carefully the functional integration of the Precinct into the broader Wyndham community.
  1. Be bold: Set clear job targets for 2036:
    • East Werribee 50,000 new jobs
    • Wyndham 85,000 total new jobs.
  1. In addition to services-oriented East Werribee precinct, focus on creating new jobs in the whole of Wyndham in:
    • tourism, with new facilities complementing existing assets
    • construction, and the nature of local residential building changes
    • logistics, building on current specialisations.
  1. Facilitate local residents filling many new jobs with a skills development strategy (especially for the young) and a social procurement program for the region.

Access the report Werribee Precinct: A vibrant satellite city for Melbourne via the WoMEDA webpage.

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