As the world’s most liveable city seven years in a row, the concept of liveability is almost synonymous with Melbourne and Victoria by default. As a brand, it’s an enviable position to be in, but it requires a concerted effort to market the liveability sector beyond Australia.

City of Melbourne has a dedicated team working towards promoting Melbourne’s liveability expertise overseas. Led by Frances Fu, the Capital City Global team helps Melbourne businesses develop their international standing across six sectors – one being liveability.

With an office in Tianjin, China, one of Melbourne’s six sister cities, the Capital City Global team offers programs, missions, seminars and partnerships designed to promote City of Melbourne’s interests central to Melbourne’s economic development and trade.

This small but far-reaching team collaborates with partners like LVI to leverage brand recognition around Melbourne’s ‘most liveable city’ accolades, promoting liveability expertise of businesses and local council too.

City of Melbourne is an expert in this area. “Our brand has huge recognition in the overseas market, particularly in India, China and Southeast Asia,” says Frances. “We’re keen to leverage that and promote our companies’ interests to help them gain traction internationally.”

“We felt from the very start that we needed to plug into the Victorian Government network to make this work,” she says. When City of Melbourne organises a trade mission or inbound delegation, LVI and Global Victoria suggest the best placed delegates to engage with the opportunity.

“While we have companies we work with at City of Melbourne, when it comes to overseas opportunities we really want to promote these among Victorian businesses because the scale of opportunity is huge and should be communicated to all eligible players.”

Working with LVI, Frances says it’s now easier to determine who those players are. “In the past I would have had to go through different channels to reach professional services like intelligent transport or wastewater management,” she says. “Now it’s quite a good channel.”

I think the Government has done a very smart thing in trying to capture the essence of the best of the best, when it comes to liveability. It also makes Victoria’s offering a lot more obvious.
Frances Fu, City of Melbourne

She notes that export and trade have traditionally focused on tangible products, whereas liveability is very much led by professional services and expertise in creating meaningful solutions – though this can also include the use of products.

India and China are two of the most active markets for City of Melbourne, each offering different kinds of opportunities. Both countries though are committed to becoming more liveable, having invested in countrywide programs to help them achieve this.

China’s Sponge Cities program aims to develop water sensitive urban design in cities, absorbing and reusing 70% of rainwater across 80% of urban areas by 2030; while India’s 100 Smart Cities urban renewal and retrofitting program intends to make cities citizen-friendly and sustainable.

City of Melbourne has worked with LVI to design a number of inbound and outbound trade missions to share Victorian expertise tailored to both these initiatives.

Liveability is a recurrent theme. It’s such a strong signal, we can’t afford to ignore it.
Frances Fu, City of Melbourne

Having established relationships with the best Victorian universities and businesses, LVI has been able to connect international organisations and businesses with relevant industry, educational and government expertise on a range of City of Melbourne missions.

As sector experts, LVI has delivered liveability oriented programs to City of Melbourne delegates through the 2017 and 2019 City of Melbourne and RMIT Tianjin Government Leaders Program, and City of Melbourne’s 2016 and 2018 inbound missions from India.

This can involve coordinating sessions on how government agencies and departments like DELWP, Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Sustainability Victoria contribute to Melbourne’s liveability, as well as providing business-matching content and sessions.

As partners, LVI and the City of Melbourne have invested in knowledge sharing across organisations – LVI hosted a City of Melbourne team member from the International and Civic Services team, strengthening mutual understanding around how best to develop the liveability sector.

“We wanted to get a really thorough understanding of how LVI operates and who their key stakeholders are,” says Frances. “One of my team is focused on liveability and smart city feasibility so she stayed with LVI for a week. It’s great to see how we can better collaborate.”

As partners, City of Melbourne and LVI have delivered joint programs on water sensitive urban design and planning: City of Melbourne shared its expertise at LVI’s Victoria - Sichuan Liveable Cities program in Melbourne, while LVI attended the City’s 2017 mission to India.

One of the common characteristics of working with India and China is that government plays a big role in business engagement. So for businesses to attach themselves to a Victorian Government or local government trade mission is a big deal.
Frances Fu, City of Melbourne

“It tends to open up more doors for them, than if they were to go on their own,” she says. Inbound missions are just as valuable. “We introduce private sector leaders with relevant capabilities to visiting government departments to help fulfil their ambitions in specific areas.”

“Some people think economic development, trade and diplomacy only happens at a state and federal level, they underestimate the role that a city government can play in diplomacy and trade,” she says. “We’re small but that doesn’t stop us being active and globally connected.”

With a shared market focus on China and India, it’s important that City of Melbourne and LVI work closely together, sharing networks of Victorian business contacts and boosting possible access to business development opportunities and commercial outcomes.

Together they strengthen Victoria’s reputation and Melbourne’s brand as leaders in liveability

Page last updated: 04/05/20