“CBD needs action, it needs help, all these traders need the government to be on their side.”
In September 2020, the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne established a $100 million City of Melbourne Recovery Fund to “reactivate the central city” after the closures, and a City of Melbourne Revitalization Fund of $200 million was launched in May 2021.
A government spokesperson said the Recovery Fund and the Revitalization Fund were partly funded from this year’s budget.
Some of the pandemic recovery funding has yet to be spent.
Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Industry boss Paul Guerra backed the government’s plans, saying he did not expect any funding for the resumption of CBD in the budget and that the creation of a trade and investment office in Paris would benefit Melbourne businesses.
“It’s a good investment in Paris because it strengthens Victoria’s global reach, which in turn will have the double benefit of enabling businesses to export to this part of the world, but most importantly, and we’ve seen this work well, this office to be able to attract businesses that come to Victoria,” he said. “Eventually they will either land in the CBD or close to the CBD.”
Danni Hunter, chair of the Property Council of Australia Victorian, expressed concern about the lack of attention given to the town centre.
“We can’t afford to divert our attention from CBD,” she said. “The reality is that our office occupancy and foot traffic from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, especially Mondays and Fridays, is still very low. Without this anchor cohort coming to town every day for work or at least a few days a week for work, many businesses that rely on people in attendance still struggle to maintain a strong revenue stream and customer base.
Asked about the lack of CBD recovery funds, Melbourne Mayor Sally Capp said: ‘Our ongoing partnership with the state government to provide the Melbourne City Revitalization Fund continues to build confidence of the city,” she said.
“The incredible success of the Melbourne Money discount dining program has had a ripple effect of over $100 million on our city’s economy.”
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