Greenline Project Doorstop in Melbourne

SALLY CAPP: Well welcome, everybody, to this momentous day here at Birrarung Marr as we officially put shovels in the ground for the Birrarung Marr precinct of the Greenline Project. 

The City of Melbourne's absolutely delighted to welcome Federal Minister Catherine King, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, amongst many other things, but absolutely delighted that Minister King is here with us this morning representing the Federal Government and their significant investment into the Greenline Project. 

I want to say that we are standing on the lands of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people. I thank Thane Garvey for his warm welcome to country. We are privileged to be able to be on this land and share it with traditional owners. The generosity, the leadership, and the care that traditional owners have demonstrated and delivered on this special place called Naarm is something that we respect, celebrate and we are forever grateful. 

At the City of Melbourne, we certainly acknowledge the unbroken spiritual, political and cultural connection that traditional owners have with the land, and we have enthusiastically accepted the invitation from the Uluru Statement of the Heart to walk together to create a better future. 

I'm really pleased to be here with all of you today, so many dignitaries. From the City of Melbourne, we've got our councillors, Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece, Councillor Dr Olivia Ball. Thank you so much for coming. For so many of our team, Alison Leighton, our CEO, and Mark Allan Greenline Project Director, Rick Kwasek ‑ I could be here all day ‑ who's the General Manager for our City Transport Infrastructure Operations. 

Thank you so, so much to everybody who's here from the City of Melbourne. I hope you feel so proud that we've got to this point. 

We're also joined by many, many stakeholders. Greenline Project is a collaboration. There are 44 different owners and agencies of the four kilometres that make up the Greenline Project from Birrarung Marr to the Bolte Bridge. We are so indebted and full of admiration for the commitment that all of you as key stakeholders have already made to this project and the commitment that you make now to the delivery of the Greenline Project. Thank you very, very much. 

The Greenline Project has a master plan. It is an award-winning master plan. It won the national award for urban architecture, and we are very proud. Congratulations to everybody involved. 

It really speaks to the status and the significance of this project and the many, many benefits that it will deliver for community and economy. Our independent business case tells us that for every dollar spent there's $3.29 worth of value delivered, but we would say that it's priceless for a city with a growing population with more visitors, workers and students coming into our municipality and with the need to increase biodiversity, celebrate Traditional owner ancient heritage and really create the spaces to be activated, enjoyed into the future. Greenline is all of that. 

We here at the City of Melbourne are particularly pleased this morning to be putting shovels in the ground on the Birrarung Marr precinct. The work is under way. It will be completed in time for international and local visitors to enjoy the Australian Open in a brand-new setting here at Birrarung Marr. 

It's only possible with the collaboration of the Federal Government. We thank them for their vision, for their commitment and for their understanding of the importance of rejuvenating urban spaces, open spaces, spaces for community and public to enjoy and activate. These types of projects are only possible with government support, and we're really pleased to have Minister Catherine King here with us this morning as we put shovels in the ground for the Greenline Project. 

This precinct, we will spend $30 million. It will completely transform the experience for people here in the Birrarung Marr. It does show care for country led by traditional owners and it's going to be welcoming for people for so many different activities. 

Melbourne is renowned for its liveability and we're proud, all Melbournians are proud of the efforts that we've put in together, one of the most collaborative cities in the world to deliver projects like this. And I mention liveability because we can only ensure the ongoing liveability of our cities if we continue to invest in big city shaping projects like Greenline. 

It's not easy to get these projects up and away. It takes time, it takes effort. It means moving through all sorts of barriers and difficulties, but being here this morning shows that we can do it, we should do it and it's actually happening. Greenline Project Birrarung Marr precinct is under way. 

Thank you so much to everybody who's been here, who's been involved. You've leant into this project in enormous ways. It's not over yet. So thank you in advance. But really this is a manifestation of so many people's efforts that we see here today. Your leadership's appreciated and we look forward to seeing you as we continue to rollout so many elements of this project. 

Congratulates and it is my honour to hand over to Minister King now. 

CATHERINE KING: Thanks very much, Lord Mayor, it's fantastic to be here with the City of Melbourne really celebrating the Greenline Project. 

Can I acknowledge Nick and Olivia, other councillors who are here with us, the CEO and also Senator Jess Walsh who's such a fantastic advocate for this great city. 

I mean this is such an incredible community asset, this beautiful part of Melbourne, but also being able to actually now connect our beautiful Yarra into this precinct all the way down to the Bolte Bridge. 

This was a project when Lord Mayor Sally ‑ I'll call you Sally. That's all right. We’ve got four weeks to go. She's been absolutely amazing. Came with this project and I guess we were sort of thinking at the Federal level about, you know, what does infrastructure mean in terms of our urban environment? How do we ‑ I've spent a lot of time looking at roads and building big rail lines and really substantially big pieces of infrastructure, but also cities have to be liveable. They have to have people in them to activate them. 

And the environment in which this project is occurring really is critical to the way in which Melbourne develops. You've got this incredible asset here that Melbourne continues to have. Significant tree canopy is part of it. It continues to have a really beautiful connection with our First Nations peoples, understanding just how important the river is and this precinct is to the culture and history of our First Nations people here. 

So this project really, when we were thinking about it, really made absolute sense about how do you ensure that cities continue to be environments that people want to live in, work in and are beautiful. 

And so can I really congratulate all of you, the stakeholders who care so deeply about this place, but also live and work and have your businesses here.  To the staff from the City of Melbourne, you should be really proud of this. This is going to be a project that not only you see but your kids and grandchildren are very much part of. 

We're delighted to have put in $20 million into the project overall. I know the council is contributing equally as well. I look forward to being able to put shovel in the ground today, but more importantly coming back next year and seeing this part of the precinct done. 

Can I also just congratulate you. They don't give out those awards very often in terms of city-shaping architecture, so well done to all of you on the master plan for Greenline, making sure that this project actually gets delivered but also is a beautiful part of Melbourne and one that many, many visitors and people like me who live in country Victoria, who come up to town on weekends every now and again, who can come and actually visit this beautiful part of the city as well. So, thanks everybody, and well done and congratulations and we've got some sods and shovels to turn. 


We're just going to do a quick media ‑ you look like you're a journalist. That's okay, sure, sure. 

JOURNALIST: Will the Federal Government be committing any more money to the Greenline Project? 

CATHERINE KING: Well, we've put $20 million in and my view always when you put money into a project is let's make sure that gets delivered and that's done, and then I am sure there's always more asks. I don't think I meet with a local government area anywhere in the country where there isn't more asks. I'm sure there may be for this project but really my view is we're putting $20 million in, we're getting shovels in the ground today and it's great to see this project started. 

JOURNALIST: Thanks Minister. Can you just explain what will Melbournians be able to see in terms of the changes in this precinct when it's completed? 

SALLY CAPP: This precinct, Birrarung Marr, the Greenline Project is going to transform it with boardwalks that help people be guided out on to the river and along the river. There are going to be beautiful new plantings, the biodiversity, the sense of nature and the experience in and amongst the beautiful landscape is going to be a wonderful place to stop and reflect, to spend time with friends or to make that four-kilometre trek from Birrarung Marr to the Bolte. 

It's important for us that this remains a place for events as well. This is a major site that supports big international events like the Australian Open and also big local community events like Moomba. So, we're leaving plenty of space for ongoing events. And we really appreciate that partnership with all of those stakeholders in informing what needs to stay, but really supporting what we can expect. 

Many more trees, beautiful shrubs, lots of Traditional owner plantings. What is also important about this precinct is the storytelling about how important it has been for more than 2000 generations as a place to meet, a place to trade, a place to talk about important matters, cultural matters and also to have fun. 

So, there'll be lots of storytelling for people to really come and experience Aboriginal culture here in Melbourne, and for us that's a very special and important part of this project. 

We are literally transforming Birrarung Marr into a tourist mecca and a fantastic place for locals and the transformation is under way. 

JOURNALIST: Why hasn't the State Government put in any money for the project to date? 

SALLY CAPP: Well look, the State Government's been terrific and agencies, many of whom are represented today, in cooperating with us in really meaningful constructive ways on the delivery of this project. We understand that there may not be any current funding streams available, but our relationships are strong and constructive. We work in partnership with State Government on so many projects and those conversations will be ongoing. 

We approved this week our partnership and funding strategy. It sets out all of the partners that we'll be working with in government and private sector trader associations and representative bodies, all of whom are important to the delivery of Greenline. 

This is an all‑in project. It's only going to happen with that ongoing sense of collaboration, and we feel really confident about that at the City of Melbourne because all of our stakeholders understand the benefits that this drives for our city today and into the future. 

As the Minister said, it's an intergenerational project and it will continue to deliver a positive legacy for our city and those are the sorts of projects that Federal and State Government are interested in supporting over the years in which it will be delivered. 

JOURNALIST: Are you confident the entire project will be delivered? 

SALLY CAPP: Absolutely confident the entire project will be delivered. There's incredible support and with the award winning master plan and the funding and partnership strategy and the commitment and activation of so many organisations, I feel really confident that by the end of 2028 we will be walking four kilometres from Birrarung Marr to the Bolte Bridge through beautiful new landscapes on wonderful boardwalks that guide us through a new experience, and we can feel really confident of the benefits it delivers from the health of the river through to the health of our community. So, it's something to really look forward to. 

For all of the naysayers out there, the people that keep doubting, I say jump on board. This is a fantastic project and it's one of our most popular projects with our community, and it's time for everyone just to find ways to support this fantastic project here in the City of Melbourne. 

CATHERINE KING: Thanks everyone. Thank you. Thanks team.