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Business leaders quiz the city’s CEO

10 Dec 2015

Business leaders quiz the city’s CEO Image

City of Melbourne CEO Ben Rimmer answered questions on a range of Southbank issues at last month’s final 2015 Yarra River Business Association (YRBA) luncheon.

Held at the Arts Centre on Thursday, November 19, YRBA members were treated to a delicious lunch and a frank and informative Q&A session by the city’s CEO, who gave insights into the council’s position on a number of issues.

Mr Rimmer was quizzed by YRBA executive officer Tim Bracher on a range of local issues including water governance, the Flinders St underpass, pedestrian safety and the arts precinct, before taking a number of questions from the floor.

As a late replacement for Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, who was forced to withdraw due to overseas commitments, Mr Rimmer proved a more than worthy replacement providing members with an honest and entertaining session.  

Read some of his insights on some of the most significant issues affecting Southbank below:

On water governance:

“We need to get our act together administratively about how we manage it and how we do business on the water and there is a long way to go in that area.”

“A single authority is something that council would have a significant interest in and from a duty of care perspective we wouldn’t put staff and assets into the new arrangements without being very confident that it was going to work well.”

“We are very hopeful that we can get to a more streamlined set of arrangements that better reflect the important role that the river now plays in the city.”

On the Flinders St underpass:

“The underpass is damp, dingy and crowded but the whole expansive Flinders St Station is not up to Melbourne’s standards.”

“It’s dead, inactivated, very traffic centred and there’s no activation, there’s no business, there’s no life along that edge at all.”

“We think it’s right time for some further works from a range of different agencies to make it a better and safer place to be and to do business.”

On cycling along Southbank Promenade:

“I think we have a lot more work to do in terms of education, campaigns together with Victoria Police together with VicRoads about making people think a little bit harder about their own behaviour.”

“I don’t think that there’s any plan for a full ban at the moment I can’t imagine that we’ll do anything other than keep looking and keep exploring ideas.”

On upgrading the Arts Precinct:

“We see the arts map as an incredibly important part of our future. It’s growing and developing everyday.”

“We really have a piece of work to do here with Creative Victoria and the Arts Precinct organisations to help them come together to get to an even better set of outcomes.”

On the City Rd master plan:

“When we’ve finished the work it will feel like there are two distinct parts of City Rd. One that is effectively a transport thoroughfare that it used by placarded loads, and one that is, frankly, far more interesting – a local and active road with more space for pedestrians, more green and more space for cyclists.”

The CEO of Tourism Victoria/Visit Victoria Nick Foa will be the guest speaker at the Yarra River Business Association’s first luncheon for 2016, which will be held in February.

For more information visit

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