7 May 2018
Australia 2018 City Partnerships gets off to a flying start

Running alongside our current global offer of the ‘City Partnerships Challenge’, in mid April the 2018 cohort of Australian municipal government leaders plunged headlong into their first week long intensive in Melbourne – with terrific results.

The Australian City Partnerships cohort had great things to say about their first taste of the two year program of targeted capacity building and coaching to develop high impact multi-partner sustainable development projects in their cities.

The program is based on the Cities Programme’s Melbourne Model platform of cross-sectoral collaboration which has seen city and regional governments from across the world deliver high impact projects in partnership with private sector, civil society, academia and their communities.

The collective highlight for the Australian municipal leaders was the one to one coaching from experts in other sectors. Most spoke of the richness of the program, and whilst finding it high pace, had gained fresh insight and new approaches to apply to their projects – and to secure the interest and support of local and regional partners.

Our urban development leaders were challenged to begin work on their projects immediately, shaping initial business cases and pitches. Whilst some had developing projects in hand, others has undertaken our City Scan diagnostic prior to this first intensive, identifying the critical issues for their city. Their projects were in earlier days but – through the consultation involved with the City Scan process – had already gained strong support internally.

Cities’ projects are diverse; ranging from major economic development initiatives through to innovative waste management, revitalisation of historic precincts and urban centres for indigenous culture.

Working from the Melbourne campus of City Partnerships lead partner, RMIT University, our leaders heard presentations and received coaching throughout the week from experts in private sector, civil society, academia and state government. It also included a meeting with BHP Billiton Foundation, which many referred to as one of the week’s highlights.

The results of the week were quite remarkable. In the final session, leaders pitched the case for their projects to a panel from industry, academia and the Cities Programme Executive who provided feedback and advice on their ‘sell’.

Getting buy in from council executives, business leaders, community, local civil society organisations and regional and national government is core business for those facilitating and driving the development of multi-sector projects. All leaders were advised to work on developing an elevator pitch to communicate the top headlines of a project – what it is, why it should happen and what it will it achieve. No easy task but important.

Our new Head of Partnerships, Patricia Holly-Purcell who is based at the United Nations Global Compact headquarters in New York, flew in from the USA to be part of this first intensive.

Patricia said she was honoured to be part of the week and that she had learnt a lot from those working in city government.

City Partnerships’ developer, Michael Nolan was uplifted by this first week and said:

“They are a very talented bunch of committed practitioners and whilst their projects are multi-faceted and tackling complex problems, I am confident they will be successful in attracting the right partners and funding”.

Natasha Issa, Associate Director of Sustainability and Resilience with AECOM, joined the seminar at the beginning and again at the end of the week and was impressed with the progress:

“I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of the program and am impressed with how the project concepts have developed in such a short period of time”.

The next intensive will be held in October and much of the work will be focused on partnership development; project partners who will also have the opportunity to participate in the customised capacity building.

In the meantime, the local government leaders will continue building their projects, developing business cases and securing local support.

We look forward to the next chapter!

Report Author: Elizabeth Ryan

City Partnerships Australia Implementation Partners: Founding Director of the UN Global Compact - Cities Programme, David Teller is pictured with AECOM Sustainability and Resilience leader, Victoria Chandra.Our partners from private sector are important contributors to City Partnerships. From left: Cate Harris from the UN Global Compact Network Australia (left) and and Melinda Macleod, Program Director from BHP Billiton Foundation (right) working with Matt Swards & Samantha Magill from the City of Ballarat (centre).Mid week brought a little light relief and time for partners and city leaders to get to know each other better. From left, finance advisor, Gordon Noble, Warwick Peel from the United Nations Association Australia with Molly Fredle, Patricia Fitzsimons and Douglas Rowland from Hobsons Bay City Council.From left: Dr Jane Mullett from the UN Global Compact - Cities Programme with Angela Valentine from the City of Knox and Belinda Gibbons, the Australia New Zealand representative of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).Amber Stewart from the City of Newcastle (left) with Sandra Hernandez Salazar and Shanice Nagy from RMIT Entrepreneurship and Start-up Association (RESA).City of Ballarat leaders looking happy and relieved following their project 'pitch' delivery on the final day.Joana Correia sharing a much deserved relaxed moment at the network function midweek. She is pictured with City Partnerships partner, Warwick Peel from the United Nations Association Australia. Joana has played a key role in the design and development of the City Partnerships system.Michael Nolan with Andrew Scarlett from the City of Port Phillip. As well as the program designer, Michael plays an important role as coach and mentor throughout the two year City Partnerships Challenge sharing his over twenty years commercial experience in sustainability, resilience and multi sector projects.Amber Stewart's pitch for the Newcastle project. Newcastle is one of Australia's major second cities.The Ballarat pitch. Ballarat is is an historic Victorian regional city and the site of the famous Eureka stockade.Our new Head of Partnerships, Patricia Holly-Purcell (left) flew in from the New York office for the first Australian City Partnerships capacity development. She is pictured with Patricia Fitzsimons from Hobsons Bay.From left: Jane Stanley from EAROPH Australia with Julia Laidlaw and Elizabeth Ryan from the UN Global Compact - Cities Programme.The urban leaders worked through business case framework templates. Pictured: Julia Laidlaw from the UN Global Compact - Cities Programme who facilitated the development of the Australia City Partnerships first 2018 capacity development intensive.City of Knox leaders engrossed in the preparation for the 'pitch' on their project.There is already a strong sense of teamship already developing between the city leaders who will work together for two years.Samantha Magill, Economic Development Manager with the City of Ballarat.Jane Stanley from EAROPH with Amber Stewart from Newcastle City Council.Katherine Teh-White from private sector consultancy, Future Eye providing advice to city leaders in one of the coaching sessions.Steve Gawler, Director of ICLEI Oceania in a roundtable interchange with city leaders following his presentation to the group.City Partnerships core development team looking very pleased (from left) Joana Correia and Julia Laidlaw.Professor Jago Dodson, Director of the Centre for Urban Research, RMIT and Cities Programme Global Advisor contributed a seminar on urban policy and planning.New AECOM Associate Director of Sustainability and Resilience, Natasha Issa with Michael Nolan. Natasha provided advice on cities' projects pitches on the final day.City leaders were gifted Sustainable Development Goal badges on the final day.Inter-state connections. Amber Stewart from Newcastle City Council with Mia Davison from Victorian government, DEWLP and the Australia Chapter of EAROPH.