New committee unveiled to boost daytime economy

New committee unveiled to boost daytime economy
Brendan Rees

A newly formed committee aimed at “turbocharging” the city’s daytime economy has been established as the City of Melbourne looks towards new growth opportunities post-COVID.

The committee, which will be made up of Melbourne business owners, employers and entrepreneurs, will advise the council on a range of initiatives in what they believe will drive visitation and workers to the city on days when pedestrian movement is low.

At the time of publishing, councillors were set to consider a shortlist of nine members at their October 31 council meeting.

They included QV Melbourne’s centre general manager Arabella Richards; District Docklands CEO George Karabatsos; Australian Venue Co. CEO Paul Waterson; Hatch Quarter CEO Aiman Hamdouna; STREAT co-founder and CEO Rebecca Scott; and Ripe Cheese founder Hakim Halim.

Other committee members were National Australia Bank head of communications – enterprise agreement Jo van Zeeland; Mandala founding partner Jason Tabarias; and Mary Martin Bookshop owner Dr Jaye Chin-Dusting.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the committee’s unique views, and “on-the-ground understanding” of the city’s conditions would be an “incredible asset” to boosting daytime trade.

“We want to create more business, visitation and vibrancy across the city – and that’s what this diverse group of experts will set out to do,” she said.

“For example, we know Mondays are our quietest day of the week. Our committee of experts will use their knowledge to help us boost worker and visitor activity to establish a consistent seven-day-a-week city economy.”

Earlier this year, council data showed Friday and Saturday had led the CBD’s recovery since the pandemic with more money spent on retail and dining.

Mr Hamdouna, who co-founded Hatch Quarter, an innovation hub, as well as Mo Works, a digital agency to drive industry transformation (both of which are based in Docklands), said he was “deeply honoured” by the shortlisting and looked forward to enhancing Melbourne’s economic prospects.

“As a member of this esteemed committee, I am committed to leveraging Melbourne’s vibrant lifestyle, robust retail sector, and dynamic workforce to drive sustainable economic growth,” he said.

“Through Hatch Quarter, we have connected technology and innovation ventures into international markets and worked with international ventures to expand into Australia.”


I intend to continue using global experience to elevate Melbourne’s position and connection with the global business and innovation community.


Mr Hamdouna described the city as a “hub of innovation and talent, with a thriving startup ecosystem, exceptional event infrastructure, and world-class educational institutions”.

“Melbourne’s diverse and inclusive culture is a unique asset, creating a thriving, inclusive, and harmonious business environment that, in turn, drives economic growth.”

Dr Chin-Dusting, who runs Mary Martin Bookshop at Southgate and at Queen Victoria Market (QVM), said it would be critical to share the voices of traders.

“With my network of traders at the Queen Victoria Market and also those at Southgate, I feel I have a good grasp of what might work,” she said.

The City of Melbourne will host a City Economy Summit on December 6 to inaugurate the committee and focus on gaining insights into the challenges and opportunities currently faced by Melbourne’s economy. •


Caption: Aiman Hamdouna (right). Photo: John Tadigiri.

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