“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, but only because, and only when, they are created by everybody”…. Jane Jacobs

The Office for Suburban Development (OSD) held its ‘Building Connections – Celebrating People and Our Suburbs’ event on Wednesday 15 February.

The event allowed OSD to share its experiences on bringing the voice of the local community into government to ensure we identify and deliver locally conceived, place-based solutions that make a real difference to the people living and working in our suburbs.

The event was hosted by Deputy Secretary Beth Jones who had the pleasure of introducing the Hon Ros Spence MP Minister for Suburban Development to the gathering of OSD’s delivery partners, Metropolitan Partnerships and Suburban Revitalisation Board Chairs, local government representatives and community members.

In her speech, Minister Spence described how excited she was to have the opportunity to continue building on the strong connections OSD had managed to cultivate between the State Government, local government and our communities.

“With OSD’s help I want us to be able to listen to the voices of grass roots communities, to hear what matters to them, and to work across all levels of government to ensure that everyone in our community, no matter which suburb they live in, has the opportunity to succeed and to thrive.”

“I want our suburbs to be communities where, no matter where you come from or what you come with, there is a place for you. Communities where there are housing choices, where families have a choice of quality education, be it government or private, with pathways to university or TAFE. Communities where businesses can succeed and there are abundant employment opportunities, especially for our young people, particularly in growth industries that offer a career - not just a wage.”

With almost 8 in 10 Victorians living in Melbourne’s suburbs, it’s critical we get this right, that we build mechanisms to hear from local communities, and to respond to their needs in a way that reflects the unique nature and circumstances of different communities and different neighbourhoods.

OSD’s Metropolitan Partnerships and the Boards of the Suburban Revitalisation programs have created an effective conduit into government – enabling communities to contribute to and influence government’s decision-making when it comes to deciding where investments should go to build economic and social capital through place-based activations.

A highlight of the event was Sarai Roe’s Acknowledgement of Country and her reflections on what 2023 will bring for Treaty and Voice. Sarai beautifully illustrated the spiritual importance of connection to place, causing the gathering to reflect on their own work to support community with place-based initiatives that have true meaning and relevance.

The success of our suburbs has never been more important. Building on the expertise, knowledge and insights of the Metropolitan Partnerships and Suburban Revitalisation Boards, Minister Spence said she is looking forward to what we can achieve together for local communities in the months and years ahead.

Minister Spence, Executive Director of Office for Suburban Development Joel Backwell, and Tim Ryan, member for Inner Metropolitan Partnerships engaged in conversation.

Caption (from L to R): Minister Spence, Office for Suburban Development's Executive Director Joel Backwell, and Tim Ryan, member for Inner Metropolitan Partnerships engaged in conversation.

Page last updated: 24/02/23