Employment meets rail in Melbourne’s growing north-west - Ironfish

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Employment meets rail in Melbourne’s growing north-west

Approximately 10km north-west of Melbourne’s CBD is Sunshine, a one-time industrial heartland that sits at an important intersection point for 2 major Melbourne city planning initiatives – initiatives which are making many Melbourne investors sit up and take note.

National Employment and Innovation Cluster

As Melbourne’s population continues to boom, the Victorian government is planning for multiple economic and employment hubs in suburban areas closer to where people live.

These ‘National Employment and Innovation Clusters’ (NEICs) are areas with concentrations of businesses and institutions that provide a diversity of employment opportunities, typically centring around major universities and teaching hospitals.

The Sunshine region has been designated as 1 of only 7 NEICs under Plan Melbourne. There are currently around 2,800 business located in the Sunshine cluster, employing around 14,600 workers.

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Renowned artist and Sunshine-raised John Kelly’s sculpture was unveiled in November 2017 and stands in Sunshine’s main street. Photo courtesy: VPA

The vision for the Sunshine NEIC is to become a major jobs centre in Melbourne’s west, providing teaching, healthcare services, medical research, education, transport, business and retail services.

“The cluster is recognised for its specialised activities and leading education, health and research facilities and the proximity of major transport infrastructure (Sunshine train station is on the Sunbury line and the regional rail link to major western regional areas such as Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong).

“While these existing strengths have helped establish the area as a cluster, they will also act as a catalyst for the still significant untapped potential of the area, while providing for future business, institutional and residential growth.” – Victorian Planning Authority

Sunshine NEIC suburbs are set to benefit from over $2.3billion in infrastructure investment necessary to accommodate significant growth in the number of businesses and jobs (13,800 new jobs by 2036) as well as better transport and improved open spaces, and upgraded services and facilities.

New $10billion rail line connecting the CBD to Melbourne Airport

Sunshine already sits at an important rail junction, providing a connection to regional services as well as metro services on the Sunbury line.

It has now also been revealed that Sunshine is the preferred route for the new and much anticipated train link between Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport and the CBD.  

The Sunshine route, which is the preferred route of both the State Government and the Australian Pacific Airports Corporation, would run fast trains from Southern Cross to Tullamarine through the western suburbs with the potential to link Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo into the network. The ability to connect the airport with these regional areas is of particular advantage.

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Melbourne airport chief executive Lorie Argus told The Age that while the business case should consider all options, she and her colleagues believed that the Sunshine route was best.

“For us, we’re looking at how to safeguard a rail [line] to be able to extend beyond the airport or to be able to extend the network to the west,” said Ms Argus.

“That’s why, for us, it looks like Sunshine would make sense to be the front running route because it has access to regional, it has access to the west where the major growth is.”

The long-awaited rail connection will soon be a reality with a $5billion funding commitment in the recent Federal Budget, which has been recently matched by the Victorian State Government as well.

“The Sunshine region is strategically located at the junction of major rail services, with planning well underway for over $2bn of new infrastructure to support further jobs growth, said Ironfish Head of Property, William Mitchell.

“The addition of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link makes this an even more enticing area for economic investment, which we expect will drive property values in the area as well.”

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