Annual Report 2014–15

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Goal 4: A knowledge city

Melbourne will be a place where ideas and talent thrive, based on a well-resourced education and research sector and knowledge networks. It will have a dynamic online culture to amplify our knowledge capability.


  • 4 projected outcomes

  • 4 progress indicators

  • 8 actions for 2014-15

  • Delivered via 7 service areas, 5 strategies / plans

Our approach

The City of Melbourne supports those at the forefront of knowledge and innovation to ensure the fruits of that knowledge benefit the whole city. We know that tomorrow’s success depends on growing our capacity today to participate in the currency of ideas. We also recognise that participation in lifelong learning is intrinsic to individual wellbeing and the growth of ideas that enrich our society as a whole.

Building a ‘knowledge city’ is about capitalising on our knowledge-city credentials to foster new businesses and grow our networks of talent. This includes supporting international students to have a positive experience, investing in our infrastructure, and facilitating knowledge-sharing between people and businesses.

Issues and challenges

To support the University of Melbourne’s vision of creating Australia’s largest sustainability and innovation hub for education, research and engagement – the Carlton Connect initiative – we prepared planning scheme amendment C173 for the development. The Panel appointed to consider the amendment provided its report to us in May, which slightly delayed the timeline for its completion.

Future directions

A major initiative in the coming year is to implement the second stage of the Open Data program, including increasing the capacity of the Quarterly Performance Dashboard.

Future Melbourne snapshot

How the city measures up as a ‘knowledge city’ based on: Skilled and talented professionals: workers employed in highly skilled occupations in the municipality as a proportion of the total workforce

The proportion of residents in highly skilled occupations remained stable at about 49 per cent from 2009 to 2011. Residents employed in highly skilled occupations: 49.1 per cent (2011, based on latest available data)

Goal 4 service areas: Libraries, Visitor and resident information, Building, development planning Urban policy and design, International connections, Research, Information technology

Performance summary

Key highlights

  • 1.2 million visitors to the library’s virtual branch website

  • 54,000 people attended library programs, 95 per cent rate programs as excellent

  • 80,000 items procured for Library at the Dock and Kathleen Syme Library

  • More than 90 activities and 7000 participants at Melbourne Knowledge Week

  • 21 events and more than 5600 attendees at Melbourne Conversations

Summary of 2014–15 actions

Detail about this year’s knowledge city actions and activities can be found later in this chapter.

Major Initiative: Deliver one event consistent with the Knowledge Strategy per quarter in 2014-15

This year saw a full calendar of knowledge-related events. Some 3190 people attended Melbourne Conversations, a series of discussions on current and challenging city issues that influence Melbourne's intellectual culture, creativity, liveability and sustainability. Public discussion led by knowledgeable national and international speakers is followed by audience questions. Diverse themes ranged from personalised medicine to the future of housing as well as smart cities and indigenous knowledge. We also supported seven external partners to deliver knowledge-related activities that attracted more than 133,000 people.

How we’re performing against our indicators or progress

The City of Melbourne aims for several outcomes over the four years of its Council Plan 2013–2017. We measure progress by the indicators below.

Projected outcome: International students to have a positive experience


The proportion of student service users who feel their participation in selected City of Melbourne programs increased their positive experience of Melbourne, per year

Time period (Financial Year)

Students participating in our programs who had a more positive experience of Melbourne


89.4 per cent


85.7 per cent

Our progress

Nearly 86 per cent of international students surveyed believed their involvement in our student programs, as users and/or as volunteers in helping run events, has increased their positive experience in Melbourne.

Library at the Dock celebrates first birthday

In its first year, Library at the Dock has clocked up impressive figures, with 120,000 visitors, 4000 new members, 160,000 loans and 500 groups, organisations and individuals using the centre for their activities. Library at The Dock won two Australian Timber Design awards in Sydney in for excellence in public or commercial building design and in sustainability, and is also the only public six-star green rated building in Australia.

Projected outcome: Infrastructure that supports knowledge and learning


The proportional increase in the number of visitors to City of Melbourne libraries per year

Time period (Financial Year)

Change in the number of visitors to our libraries per year

2012–13 to 2013–14

0.6 per cent increase

2013–14 to 2014–15

2.7 per cent increase
Our progress

The number of library visitors has increased from 1,105,276 in 2012–13 to 1,142,025 this year.

Projected outcome: People to participate in knowledge-related activities


The proportional increase in the number of attendees participating at City of Melbourne knowledge events

Time period (Financial Year)

Change in number of participants to our knowledge events

2012–13 to 2013–14

62.6 per cent increase

2013–14 to 2014–15

4.5 per cent increase
Our progress

More than 13,000 people combined participated in Knowledge Week and Melbourne Conversations events this year. As Melbourne Knowledge Week has developed, it has increased events and event partners and attracted more than 7,000 attendees over the last two years which is reflected in the more moderate attendance results this reporting year.
Digital skills for our community

Melbourne Library Service’s Digital Skills Workshop has proven very successful, with more than 100 free digital skills workshops and events to support digital literacy in our community delivered in its first 12 months. More than 1000 attendees have learned new skills including 3D printing, electronics, music, sound editing, animation, gaming and coding.

Projected outcome: Businesses that are better informed about the knowledge sector


The proportion of Knowledge Week participants who feel more informed about the municipality’s knowledge sector, per year.

Time period (Financial Year)

Knowledge Week participants who feel more informed about the municipality’s knowledge sector


79.6 per cent


85 per cent
Our progress

Eighty-five per cent of participants surveyed reported that Melbourne Knowledge Week activities made them feel more informed about the municipality’s knowledge sector.

Our 4 year priorities are…

Our 2014–15 focus was…

Over the next year we will…

Develop programs, relationships and initiatives to support the wellbeing of international students
  • Host and participate in forums with the education sector, local governments and the State Government to explore opportunities to collaborate on international student wellbeing, housing and employment

Status: Completed

  • Implement Year 3 Actions of the International Student Strategy 2013–2017

Provide high-quality municipal data and information to the knowledge sector and public

  • Implement the Smart City Strategy and the associated governance body

Status: Completed

  • (Major initiative) Implement Stage 2 of the Open Data program, including increasing the capacity of the Quarterly Services Dashboard

  • Implement selected actions from the Smart City Strategy

Support the development of knowledge precincts and innovation hubs as part of the City North Structure Plan

  • Work with the proponent to complete a planning scheme amendment for the Carlton Connect precinct as per the City North Structure Plan

Status: Ongoing

  • Complete the University of Melbourne-led Carlton Connect Planning Scheme Amendment

Continue to provide comprehensive high-quality libraries and support neighbourhood learning programs


  • Work supporting this priority is included in our regular business for the year

Develop a strategy for Wi-Fi hotspots in the municipality

  • Continue to help the State Government with the city-wide wi-fi roll-out and associated opportunities

Encourage knowledge sector engagement and promote the municipality’s knowledge sector

  • Implement the Knowledge Strategy

Status: Completed

Status: Completed

  • Deliver one event consistent with the Knowledge Strategy per quarter in 2014–15

Status: Completed

  • Provide a City of Melbourne knowledge fellowship and communicate the knowledge gained by the fellow via our libraries

Status: Completed

  • Explore with Melbourne-based entrepreneurs, makers and service providers the potential for a high-tech, high-value manufacturing network and make recommendations in relation to the City of Melbourne’s role

Status: Completed

  • Continue to implement Knowledge City Strategy actions, including a knowledge city benchmarking framework, redeveloped website including a knowledge asset map, and a feasibility assessment related to hosting inbound delegations

  • As part of the Melbourne Knowledge Week development plan, partner with key organisations and individuals to curate the program of events and activities

Develop strategies in partnership with the knowledge sector to attract experts to the municipality


  • Provide a second City of Melbourne knowledge fellowship and determine the future of this program

  • Run Knowledge Melbourne events and activities

Ongoing actions

One action relating to the Carlton Connect precinct not completed in 2014–15 will continue to be delivered in the 2015–16 financial year. The initiative is subject to a planning scheme amendment which was delayed.

Smarter Cities Challenge

The City of Melbourne has been awarded an IBM Smarter Cities grant, giving us access to top consultants to help us better engage with our communities during and after extreme events. This will complement our Knowledge City Strategy and the development of a Resilience Strategy for Melbourne.
Inaugural Melbourne Knowledge Fellowship

The City of Melbourne awarded its inaugural Melbourne Knowledge Fellowship to Brad Hammond, a Melbourne-based artist and creative technologist. This fellowship aims to enhance local knowledge and skills in the use of creative and innovative technologies by applying learning and best practice from abroad. The fellowship comprises two phases: a learning phase in an international setting followed by a knowledge-sharing phase at Library at the Dock in Melbourne.
Melbourne Conversations

Almost 600 people packed into the historic Capitol Theatre for the September Melbourne Conversations event, Urban Heritage/New Architecture: Where to now? UK heritage expert Professor Andrew Saint discussed the London experience of conservation, growth and planning. Melbourne-based planning and heritage experts joined Professor Saint for a panel discussion on growth and sustainability.

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