In 2023, the Victorian Government, through the Office for Suburban Development, will continue to support the vibrancy and prosperity of Melbourne’s suburbs. Through the Metropolitan Partnership and Suburban Revitalisation Programs, we are helping to create more livable neighbourhoods, thriving local economies, and more resilient, connected and equitable communities.

The programs bring the voice of community into government decision making. By listening to community, we gain an in-depth understanding of their aspirations. We uncover how people relate to their local neighbourhoods, learn what their needs and priorities are, before we co-design place-based initiatives that deliver improvements to local infrastructure and services, and build greater social connection and economic growth.

Melbourne’s suburbs play an important role in the lives of more than three quarters of Victorians. The issues that impact them are often complex. Through engagement with over 13,000 Melbournians over the past five years, the Metropolitan Partnership Program is guiding government investment in projects that make the regions better places to live, learn, work, and spend time.

The Inner Southeast Metro Partnership identified social isolation as a priority. Investment in the Chatty Cafe Scheme has identified a social connection model that really works. 'I found after my being widowed for many years, I was looking for company and to connect up with the community. I attended this Chatty Cafe when it first opened, and I thought it's a great initiative for older people and to help the social isolation. I've made some lovely friends. I've met some very interesting people, and people from different walks of life with their own stories to tell.'

The ongoing work to reduce youth unemployment has helped more than 50 young people from the outer east find employment. An initiative by the Eastern Metropolitan Partnership provided scholarships to eight tourism and hospitality students for paid work experience while studying, effectively kickstarting their careers. 'Both my parents worked in travel and tourism and stuff like that, so when my mum showed me the scholarship, I was like, "Oh, that's just amazing.” “This is something that would be really interesting." It was just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.'

The Metropolitan Partnership Program is committed to Treaty, Self Determination and Truth Telling. Each Metropolitan Partnership has an Aboriginal member who works collectively to guide investment in metropolitan-wide projects that benefit Aboriginal communities across Melbourne. The Aboriginal Elders Cultural Wellbeing Project was delivered with the Aboriginal Advancement League and Elders across Melbourne. This project helped the Aboriginal community to better understand the experience and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 'Meeting with Elders face to face, we need each other. We can bounce ideas off each other. If we're unwell, we can have a yarn about, "I'm feeling this way, are you feeling this way or is it just me?" You know, so it breaks down them barriers when we're not well or we're struggling.'

The Suburban Revitalisation Program has shown the value of taking a coordinated place-based approach to enhancing how people live, work and play in eight priority suburbs across Melbourne. Since its establishment in 2016, the Suburban Revitalisation Program has invested over $67 million to deliver 579 projects to the value of over $163 million.

In Boronia, funds were invested in the Breakfast Club Project, which provided more than a meal to its community members. 'The point of difference with our breakfast program is that it's more than just a meal. It's important to us to get to know our guests and find out what services that they need, and build a level of trust and support them and link them with those services or provide the support ourselves. So that's the point of difference. It's more than just a meal. It gives you a sense of worth. You know, it gives me something to look forward to every morning to see the people, to just to have a chat.'

By ensuring investments align with community needs, the multitude of projects delivered by the Suburban Revitalisation Program have enriched lives through art and music, improved local infrastructure and enhanced community safety and mental health. Projects have promoted new job creation pathways for young people, shared cultural experiences at community events, and increased prosperity for local traders.

In 2023, the Office for Suburban Development will continue to deliver positive change across Melbourne’s suburbs by fostering collaborative partnerships with all levels of government, business, and community sectors. The Metropolitan Partnership and Suburban Revitalisation Programs are providing avenues for local communities to engage with the Victorian Government, which is making a positive difference.

Page last updated: 24/03/23