We’re thinking about the best ways to empower local businesses to grow Yarra’s economy, boost employment and investment, and capitalise on our city’s unique advantages.

In November 2019 we asked you to share your ideas on how we can best support businesses in Yarra. We then shared our draft Economic Development Strategy for 2020-25 for additional community feedback from Monday 29 June until Monday 27 July.

We're now reviewing your feedback which will help us finalise our Economic Development Strategy for 2020-25.

How does Yarra work with local businesses?

We work to empower businesses by streamlining our processes, providing information and resources, and promoting the unique characteristics of our commercial precincts.

How does this strategy respond to COVID-19?

The full economic impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) are still unknown. Along with the major challenges it presents, however, there are also opportunities for measures that support recovery and build a more sustainable economy.

We will continue to monitor and adjust our response to this situation, and work with businesses and community sectors to help Yarra return to a strong economic position.

Actions in the draft strategy that aim to support businesses through COVID-19 include:

  • Provide small business grants to assist businesses to adapt to new operating conditions during COVID-19.
  • Waive business parking permit fees for 12 months, from Wednesday 1 April 2020 to Thursday 1 April 2020.
  • Undertake a survey inviting all Yarra businesses to provide information on their response to COVID-19, and what future support they are looking for, to help shape our response.

See page 29 of the draft strategy for more actions.

Learn more about the draft strategy

You can read the full draft Economic Development Strategy 2020-25.

Or, read a summary of the vision and key themes in the strategy:

Vision: The City of Yarra is a place where local businesses prosper, and creative and knowledge industries thrive.

Three overarching themes guide the work outlined in the strategy:

Strategic goal: Yarra’s employment precincts are knowledge-based, innovative and diverse. Yarra accommodates and attracts leading businesses, entrepreneurs, professionals and innovators.

Some examples of actions under this theme include:

  • Strengthen the economic role and function of Yarra’s activity centres by developing structure plans which build on the unique character of each precinct.
  • Recognise the growing role and utilisation of coworking spaces in Yarra by supporting existing operators, and supporting the establishment of new spaces.
  • Provide support to small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to open businesses by helping them navigate the permit application process.

See more actions on pages 29 to 31 of the draft strategy.

Strategic goal: Yarra’s retail and service precincts are accessible, engaging and connected places. Retail businesses are appropriately equipped to adapt to and respond to structural changes in the industry.

Some examples of actions under this theme include:

  • Prepare structure plans for Yarra’s Major Activity Centres, and ensure that they consider the current economic role and function, land supply and demand for land use.
  • Continue to offer and promote business mentoring and counselling support services for local businesses.
  • Continue to provide grant opportunities to live music venues to assist with costs associated with sound proofing.

See more actions on pages 33 and 34 of the draft strategy.

Strategic goal: Yarra is a destination for artists, creatives and makers to live, work and visit. Yarra continues to be a leader in sustainability and inclusivity.

Some examples of actions under this theme include:

  • Supporting work spaces for artists and advocate for affordable spaces for artists through the Room to Create program.
  • Deliver programs and resources that support local businesses to be more resilient to the impacts of climate changes and extreme weather events.
  • Deliver the Future Pathways Program, which supports young job seekers to prepare and complete job applications/resumes, and connects them to local employers.

See more actions on pages 36 and 37 of the draft strategy.