An Ideal Place for Business

Hume City Council

“Hume City is a massive growth area,” reports George Osborne, Hume City Council’s Manager of Economic Development. “It’s one of the three largest growth areas for Melbourne – and Melbourne is the fastest growing capital city in Australia.” Indeed, Hume City’s winning location and high liveability are putting the community on the map and enticing a rapidly increasing number of thriving businesses and enthusiastic residents.

175,000 people currently call Hume City home, but that number is expected to increase by 100,000 over the next two decades. Mr Osborne calls the growth both explosive and predicted, and says that Council is carefully preparing for urban expansion. “With that sort of population growth, we are working very hard on planning to ensure that good communities are created,” he explains. Guaranteeing that residents will have plenty of local employment opportunities is a top priority. “Obviously, a part of any good community is employment.”

The city already boasts over 10,500 registered businesses, and many new employment opportunities will develop organically as the population increases. Mr Osborne points out that employment related to retail centres, public education, and healthcare will occur as a natural result of the burgeoning population. “But,” he adds, “We are looking beyond that to see what other wealth-creation jobs we can attract as part of this growth. And hopefully by doing that we will avoid committing a large number of people to massive commute times on jammed roads or overcrowded public transport. Let’s provide local jobs for local people.”

Employing large numbers of professionals within Hume City will require a substantial number of companies able to hire large numbers of staff. Fortunately, with all that Hume City has to offer, bringing in the desired employers should be a relatively easy task. To seal the deal, Council has established an Investment Attraction Framework with the express purpose of enticing new businesses to the community. “We recognise that we are one location that is battling with other locations to attract employment businesses,” Mr Osborne admits. “And that means we really have to sell our locational attributes very strongly – and we are very fortunate that we have some great locational attributes.”

First of all, the land is ready and waiting. “We’ve got plenty of land that is available,” Mr Osborne reports. “And in our planning for our new communities, we are making sure there is a good amount of employment land that is zoned as well.” Entrepreneurs and opportunists will also appreciate Hume City’s incredibly convenient location. The community is boarded by several major arterial roads, the Western Ring Road, the Calder and Hume Freeways and the Tullamarine Freeway which is a direct route to the CBD from Melbourne Airport. Residents have easy access to both commuter railways and the major interstate railway system. Melbourne airport is also located within the municipality, making international and domestic flights easily accessible to residents 24/7, the only major Australian airport to do so.

Hume City is developing an Investment Attraction Framework which will help sell these key attributes to businesses and ensure that unnecessary bureaucracy doesn’t stand in the way of development. “We’ve got to make sure that we can put as much red carpet as we can into the red tape,” Mr Osborne explains. “That’s not about cutting corners with permits and planning applications,” he adds. “It’s about helping businesses to understand the most efficient way that they can submit a permit or a planning application – letting them know where the pitfalls are, while establishing a rapport with them.”

Council is actively planning new communities to accommodate the increasing number of Hume residents these new businesses will bring. “We are working with two of Australia’s largest developers,” Mr Osborne reports. Developers MAB and Stockland are designing the Greenfield communities of Merrifield and Lockerbie to specifically meet Council’s requirements for liveability. The end result will be residential developments that “are very well designed with recreational and commercial space, employment land, and learning space, not just a dormitory suburb jammed on the outskirts of a city.” These master plans will also include a large proportion of high end housing to accommodate upper income professionals flocking to Hume City’s burgeoning opportunities. “We have got to make sure that we have the right sort of housing stock in the right community, so that the people who work there will also be happy to live there,” Mr Osborne explains.

Hume City is fortunate to already have a wide variety of housing stock to accommodate a wonderfully diverse population. From lower income families to high-powered professionals, a wide variety of cultures and incomes are currently represented throughout the municipality. In fact, the community is so dedicated to equal representation and diversity that Council has implemented a Social Justice Charter, one of the only Councils in Australia to do so. “That Social Justice Charter underpins a lot of our thinking and decision making,” Mr Osborne explains. “We put a great deal of standing in collaborative planning with our community.”

One community goal currently underway is the redevelopment of the Broadmeadows area to increase liveability for residents and to attract employers. The new master plan is set to transform the area – traditionally high in unemployment – into a thriving centre for business and retail. For example, what is currently a drab collection of car parks will soon become office accommodation, commercial space, and trendy residential developments. The project will “really generate a whole new hub of activity in the Broadmeadows area,” Mr Osborne reports. “It is very much about shifting the view and the thinking about urban renewal and regeneration.”

Already, previously unemployed Broadmeadows residents are finding employment as a result of the project. And, “it has attracted people to come and live in Broadmeadows who perhaps traditionally haven’t lived here.” With Council “putting the time, focus, and resources” into the neighbourhood, a diverse population is getting the most out of this fantastic location, which is situated only 30 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD and 15 minutes from the Melbourne airport.

Hume City also boasts a range of natural features and amenities that are helping to attract new businesses and residents. Surprisingly, this urban municipality is filled with beautiful wetlands, tranquil parklands and historic wineries. The old community of Sunbury is well known for its ‘country feel’ and lovely heritage buildings. Tourist attractions abound. Take Living Legends, for example, a peaceful farm where racehorses enjoy a well-earned retirement. The site also offers a prime example of Hume City’s remarkable balance between urban and rural. “Living Legends [is beside] a major national park and [is just a few minutes from] Melbourne airport,” Mr Osborne explains. “So you can be out looking at these magnificent retired racehorses, and in the background you can see an A380 landing from Dubai or Singapore. That is the absolute proximity of the natural environment to the city, which is quite a unique feature of Hume.”

In fact, the municipality has a number of other working farms within its borders as well. “We’ve still got productive farmland, lots of grassland, lots of remnant red gum forests, and beautiful natural parks,” Mr Osborne reports. “And all of that is just a 30 minute drive away from the Ford Motor Car factory or the Nestlé chocolate factory.”

Hume City offers all the comforts and conveniences of a major urban centre alongside its natural beauty and peaceful countryside. “We try very hard as a Council to provide top class facilities to the residents of the city,” Mr Osborne explains. These include basketball stadiums, sporting grounds, walking and biking trails, swimming pools, and two state-of-the-art Global Learning Centres, with a third in the works. Council is also committed to bringing greater educational opportunities to the area. The municipality doesn’t have a university based within its borders, but due to Council’s efforts, Victoria University and Deacon University will begin offering graduate programs at Council facilities this year. “This is making tertiary education more affordable for the residents,” Mr Osborne points out. “They are not facing a long and expensive commute to get to a campus.” Hume City residents may also take classes at the local TAFE college, KANGAN Institute, which offers skills based learning in areas such as hospitality, motor mechanics and business. Council aims to continue expanding Hume City’s educational offerings and is particularly focused on attracting a teaching hospital to the area.

The city is growing at an astounding rate. With an ideal location, plenty of business opportunities, and high liveability, this growth comes as no surprise. Council is carefully monitoring the rapid expansion and meticulously planning future developments to ensure that the city’s liveability remains high. “We are really trying very hard to be an exemplar as a local government,” Mr Osborne says. “We think we do things a little differently to many. We are perhaps a bit more innovative, a bit edgier. We have a reputation for success.” Indeed, Hume City’s rapidly increasing population and growing employment opportunities are certainly evidence of a job well done.

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

June 21, 2018, 1:16 AM AEST