The Eastern Metropolitan Partnership ran from 2017 to 2024. The Partnership engaged with local communities to advise the Victorian Government on the key priorities for jobs, services and infrastructure.

Former Members

The Eastern Partnership was made of community and business representatives with varied backgrounds, experiences and networks and the CEO of each participating local government.

Members of the Eastern Metropolitan Partnership were:

  • Kristian Dauncey
  • Simon O'Callaghan
  • Eksath Bhareti
  • Robin Whyte
  • Phil Murton
  • Karyn Sobels
  • Elke Smirl
  • Susan Maastricht
  • Steven Wojtkiw
  • David Plunkett
  • Fiona Purcell
  • Danielle Storey
  • Glenn Hodgkin
  • Sharon Ellis
  • Suzanne Phoenix
  • Sameer Sodhi
  • Michael  Browne

What we've done

The Partnership invested in research and projects to further explore, and act upon, the priorities raised by the people of the west.

The projects were commissioned by the Metropolitan Partnerships Development Fund and the insights were shared with government to inform policies and programs.

This research project explored why older women are the fastest growing cohort of people facing homelessness in the east and built an evidence base for testing a series of prevention approaches.

The project was co-designed with women over the age of 55, who have lived experience and a range of service providers to identify service gaps and priority interventions.

This project was delivered by Knox City Council with support from the Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance.

Read the final reports:

Preventing Homelessness among Older Women - Phase One Report

Preventing Homelessness among Older Women - Phase Two Report

The Being Your Best You project took a preventative approach to youth mental health for children in the middle years (aged 8 to 16).

The project aimed to empower children and their families to better manage their own mental health before the early signs of anxiety develop into something more complicated.

The project worked with young people and their families to better understand what good mental health feels like, how to develop sound self-care strategies and built an understanding of when to seek professional help, and how to navigate the mental health system in the East.

The project was delivered by Eastern Health engaged schools, service providers, local governments and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH).

Read the final report here.

This project developed a Regional Investment Strategy, aimed at positioning the East to capitalise on current and future growth in the care economy and health innovation sectors.

The strategy will leverage existing regional strengths, capitalise on emerging investment opportunities, future-proof against regional vulnerabilities and support projected workforce and skills needs.

Delivery of this project was led by Eastern Group of Councils through Maroondah City Council.

Read the report here.

The Indigenous Arts Trail project will create an online map for an Indigenous Arts Trail in the Eastern region. There are limited opportunities in the region for Aboriginal artists, so this project looks to boost business development opportunities. The regional visitor economy has been hard hit by the pandemic so there is an opportunity to boost visitation by creating a region-wide Arts Trail.

Delivery of this project is being led by Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place.

Stage 1 - Research​

In 2018, the Eastern Partnership commissioned research to investigate how best to support the successful transition of young people from secondary school into meaningful training and employment.​

The final report PDF, 2409.1 KB highlights employment barriers for youth and outlines priorities for better aligning employment services with the needs of young people in the region.

Stage 2 – 50 Jobs for Youth​

Building on the Partnership’s  2018-19 research, the Outer Eastern Local Learning and Employment Network (OELLEN), was commissioned to assist 50 young jobseekers into employment.​

The first 8 positions were created via a separate project stream (Tourism Scholarships program).​

The project helped an additional 42 young people through a variety of approaches, including the staging of several local Jobs Expos connecting jobseekers to local employers and the offering of support services to build their job readiness skills.​

The final report PDF, 2610.47 KB summarises the methodologies applied that led to the outcomes of the program.

In response to feedback from the business community about staff shortages and in line with the Partnership’s ongoing work on youth unemployment, this project provided 8 scholarships to tourism and hospitality students to kick-start their careers.

The scholarship recipients were able to experience paid placements in a variety of local businesses, together with the support of a workplace mentoring program.

The Boosting Coworking project responded to the shift in working closer to home hastened by the COVDI-19 pandemic.

The project provided vouchers for the community to experience working at a coworking space for the first time. The project also trained and supported local governments to develop their own coworking spaces in Council buildings or local activity centres. One of the most popular of these was a coworking space in Monbulk.

Read the Boosting Coworking Program Final Report PDF, 20719.47 KB.

A study into how innovative approaches to community transport can better connect people across the region services, social opportunities and jobs. In response to the engagement work of the Partnership, this project seeks to address social isolation, increase equity of access and opportunity for all residents within the region.

The Partnership commissioned this project, in partnership with the Department of Transport, and enabled the work by endorsing it for an MPDF grant. Current work to date has included the development of an evidence base, including the trial and assessment of Demand Responsive Transit (DRT) options. The Rowville Flexiride project, a trial of an on-demand bus service, is being evaluated as part of this research.

Read the Innovative Community Transport Solutions Project Final Report PDF, 3575.54 KB.

In 2020 two co-design workshops were held with 22 young people from the eastern region with the intent of understanding what they believe integrated health and social services should look like. Facilitated by YLab and attended by young people with diverse lived experiences, six research questions were interrogated.

This work included the identification of barriers to services and the creation of a journey map PDF, 32497.19 KB to understand the experiences of young people.

Read the Summary Report PDF, 558.36 KB and Final Report PDF, 5180.42 KB.

Loneliness and social isolation are significant and growing issues facing many, particularly older Melburnians – as heard in the Partnerships engagements.

This Social Listening project undertook a series of interviews with older people, families and workers in Melbourne’s east to unpack the triggers and impacts of social isolation and loneliness. These interviews identified four triggers for loneliness:

  • Loss of primary connections
  • Loss of capacity and independence
  • Loss of identity and purpose
  • Loss of a sense of belonging

In analysing the triggers for loneliness, the report proposes a number of recommendations to the Partnership.

This research was commissioned by the Eastern Partnership with the endorsement of MPDF funding in 2019.

Read the Conversations on Loneliness in older people living in Melbourne’s East Final Report PDF, 633.69 KB.

In response to the Jobs for Youth research the Partnership joined Outer East Local Learning and Employment Network (OELLEN), local employers, TAFE and Apprenticeship organisations in holding an information evening on alternative career pathways for young people and their families.

Attendees also participated in a focus group to inform the Partnership’s understanding of the current needs and challenges faced by young people in transitioning to employment.

The employment of young people has been an ongoing priority for the Eastern Partnership. The Jobs for Youth project was commissioned by the Partnership with MPDF funding to investigate the training and employment services available to young people in the region.

In partnership with the Department of Education and Training, research was undertaken to investigate any current overlap, duplication or gaps in services and what barriers exist to the successful transition of young people into employment.

The final report PDF, 2409.1 KB proposes a Regional Advisory Group to identify opportunities for collaboration and the monitoring of skill shortages, areas of employment growth and associated vocational training provisions.

This research has informed ongoing work by the Partnership to improve the transition for school leavers to meaningful training or employment.

In 2018 the Partnership endorsed a Metropolitan Partnership Development Fund (MPDF) grant to research which cohorts in the eastern region would most benefit from the integration of service delivery. The work included the mapping of services in the Yarra Ranges Shire to identify gaps and service fragmentation.

It was identified that youth access to mental health services would benefit greatly from an integrated approach to service delivery. A client-centred and place-based service delivery model for seamless access to health and social support services to young people aged 12 to 25 in the Yarra Ranges was then developed.

Read the Integrated Health & Social Services Response - Youth Mental Health Proposed Model PDF, 2193.19 KB.

Local Government Areas

  • Maroondah City Council
  • Knox City Council
  • Yarra Ranges Shire Council
  • Page last updated: 03/07/24