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Yarra 2036 Community Vision

Yarra City Council acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people as the Traditional Owners and true sovereigns of the land now known as Yarra. We also acknowledge the significant contributions made by other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to life in Yarra. We pay our respects to Elders from all nations and to their Elders past, present and future.
Welcome to Yarra's first long-term Community Vision. It embodies our community’s hopes, aspirations and priorities for the next 15 years.

Community Vision

Yarra is a vibrant, safe and inclusive environment. We celebrate and embrace our diversity and connection to each other and the land. Our community is empowered to work together and support one another with respect and trust.

Welcome from the Mayor

I’m proud and delighted to present Yarra’s first-ever community vision – created by you, for you.
The Yarra 2036 Community Vision is the culmination of over a years’ worth of engagement with our diverse and vibrant community. From a broader conversation that started in 2020, to this year’s community panel – you told us your aspirations, dreams and ideas for a future Yarra, and created a path to a brighter future in this vision.
Your participation will have real and tangible impacts on the day-to-day lives of Yarra’s residents for many years to come.
As a council, we have honoured our commitment to receiving the vision and adopting it as the panel provided it to us. Now a formal planning tool, the vision, themes and priorities in this document will guide all our decision making about Yarra’s services, priorities and projects for the next 15 years.
I have admired and appreciated our community’s commitment to the process and respect for each other – particularly our 55-person strong community panel, which over many long hours and weeks considered the views of their neighbours and peers while creating this vision.
I trust that each one of you has walked away feeling richer from the experience of sharing your stories and learning more about Yarra, and that you are inspired for our future – I know that I am.

On behalf of my fellow councillors and the organisation, thank you. I hope you all found this uniquely Yarra process rewarding and inspiring, and I look forward to council and community working together to achieve your vision.
Cr Gabrielle de Vietri
Mayor, City of Yarra
This Community Vision was created by you – our community. It all started in 2020, when over 1,300 people from across Yarra told us their ideas and aspirations for their future. Then a community panel of 55 locals from all walks of life came together to consider this feedback and create the vision.
Why do we need a community vision?
The Local Government Act 2020 requires all Victorian councils to develop and adopt a community vision before 31 October 2021. They also have important benefits, including:
  • helping us understand our community’s long-term aspirations
  • providing a tool for future planning and decision making in Yarra
  • helping guide our community’s future priorities.

About the vision

Vision themes

Theme 1

Strong and vibrant community

Yarra is a place of accessible opportunities for participation in community life. We share our skills, abilities and knowledge, cultivating a diverse community where everyone can belong.
Future priorities
  • Ensure a trusting, safe and welcoming environment to invite active participation of people from all backgrounds with tolerance and acceptance.
  • Create opportunities for meaningful exchange of our experiences, culture and arts.
  • Encourage and facilitate community engagement by amplifying lesser-heard voices and addressing gaps.
  • Celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and country
Theme 2

Shared governance

Our community is informed and empowered to contribute to the shared governance of Yarra. Decision-making is through access, inclusion, consultations and advocacy. We continuously monitor our progress, improve our processes and share our achievements.
Future priorities
  • Ensure the Council actively engages with Yarra’s diverse community at all stages of the decision-making process in an open, honest way and that aligns with the values and needs of the community.
  • Actively remove barriers to participation. Support and empower everyone to get involved.
  • Promote the role of Council more actively so people understand the decision-making process and how they can be involved.
Theme 3

Community safety

Our community is safe for all. We have peace of mind at all times of the day and night, alone or with others, at home and in public spaces. Our streets and public spaces are clean, maintained and free from hazards. We educate and advocate for respect, awareness and inclusivity.
Future priorities
  • Council empowers community leaders, the community, law enforcement and partners to actively participate in and integrate with community safety initiatives.
  • Lead the way in trialing, creating and implementing progressive technologies, programs and education to meet the safety needs in public and private spaces, drawing on data to guide decisions.
  • Council advocates to State and Federal Governments to address social and health issues comprehensively to benefit community safety.
  • Council actively maintains, educates and implements infrastructure to ensure our streets and public spaces are free of hazards.
Theme 4

Environmental sustainability

We are all custodians of the City of Yarra. While our skyline is growing, so are our green spaces. We are smarter in how we manage growth and use our resources and energy. We celebrate, enable and promote a circular economy.
Future priorities
  • Work alongside Traditional Owners to set new benchmarks in maintaining and increasing natural amenities and biodiversity across Yarra and also gaining a better understanding.
  • Lead the way in climate change mitigation and resilience within Yarra and extend our impact through advocacy and innovative partnership.
  • Promote and facilitate a more efficient and effective waste management strategy that inclusively engages the community through education and awareness.
  • A transport system that is innovative, efficient, sustainable and accessible.
Theme 5

Social equity

Our community advocates for access to equitable services including education, housing, employment and health. Yarra leads the way in transitioning homelessness to secure housing and employment. We respect and acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Yarra. Their voices are involved in council decision making. Their stories and values are visible in the community.
Future priorities
  • Ensure a fair and equitable quality of life is possible, regardless of your age, ability, ethnicity, gender or religion.
  • Ensure that there are equitable opportunities for housing and services provided to all.
  • Ensure there are platforms for everyone to share their voices and to be heard and supported.
Theme 6

Thriving local economy

Yarra is a thriving hub of accessible, people-centred commercial activity, offering unique goods and services to locals and visitors. Yarra is known as a place where small businesses thrive.
Future priorities
  • Create broad economic and employment opportunities by utilising existing physical spaces and facilitating partnerships.
  • Foster innovative and creative approaches to businesses.
  • Support young people’s businesses (entrepreneurs) to thrive through innovative, creative and practical initiatives, and ensure alignment to community values.
  • Preserve, celebrate and promote culturally diverse economic activities.
Theme 7

Shared spaces

Our shared spaces connect communities, businesses and cultures together. They reflect our community’s diverse voices. These spaces are green, encourage nature and are accessible for all.
Future priorities
  • All our shared spaces are made physically accessible and welcoming to people of all abilities, linguistic, cultural backgrounds and age groups.
  • Community meeting spaces, service buildings, and facilities evolve and adapt to reflect changing needs of our diverse community.
  • Create and innovate solutions to maximise the use of under or unused streets and spaces.
  • Increase availability and diversify use of open spaces to address existing shortages and respond to population growth
Theme 8

Growing sustainably

Planning and growth prioritises the needs of our community. Growth is managed in a way that has a positive impact on our open spaces and community services. Unique and special aspects of our culture and heritage are protected.
Future priorities
  • Advocate for development and planning design that is shaped by and meets our community’s future needs.
  • Keep our heritage visible while we encourage innovative and sustainable growth.
  • Advocate for the supply of accessible and affordable housing that suits different types of people in all stages of life.
  • Ensure that as we grow, community services and public spaces are adapted and created so that our unique lifestyle is maintained and continues to improve.

Community engagement

The Community Vision is the product of a two-staged engagement approach, which started with broad community engagement in November 2020.
Broad community engagement
From November 2020 to January 2021, we asked the wider community its thoughts and aspirations for Yarra’s future. We reached the most diverse corners of Yarra through in-person events, mail, email, radio, social media and outdoor advertising in popular spots. We also had some big help from our fantastic youth and cultural ambassadors.
Over 1,300 people had their say, resulting in excellent representation by suburb, age group, cultural background and ability.
This rich data was analysed by an independent researcher to maintain transparency. Their report helped us identify what the broader community did and didn’t agree on. It also provided a foundation for the community panel to understand the range of views that exist in Yarra.
The community panel
Sixty people were originally selected to join the panel. Forty were randomly selected by company Sortition Foundation through an expression of interest process independent of council, and 20 more were selected through a process run by council to reach people at risk of underrepresentation.

Read more about the recruitment process by downloading the report.
Between recruitment and the first session, the panel reduced to 55 people. This is normal for a panel process, and the panel's diversity was maintained.
over
1,300
people contributed
55
people joined a community panel
20%
spoke a language other than English
10%
identified as LGBTIQ+
The panel met four times in person during May 2021 – a total of 13 hours' worth of learning and deliberations. They were also supported by a website with learning materials and a forum for questions.
They considered the views of the broader Yarra community, and the diverse perspectives of other panel participants. They were provided with more information when requested, discussed and deliberated with their fellow panel members to create the final vision.
Read more about how the panel reached its decisions by downloading the report.

Next steps

This vision will guide all planning and decision making by Yarra Council and its community.
It will inform our next Council Plan 2021-25, which you’ll be able to have a say on later this year. It will also guide our next 10-year financial and asset management plans.
We’re excited to work together with you, our partners and other levels of government to see this vision achieved. You’ll be able to keep track of our progress on achieving your vision through our annual reports.