Creating a world-class innovation precinct in the heart of Melbourne

Published: 17 February 2022

On the doorstep of Melbourne’s CBD, a new innovation precinct will put Fishermans Bend and Victoria at the forefront of global advanced manufacturing, engineering and design innovation.

The Fishermans Bend Innovation Precinct will revitalise the former General Motors Holden site. It draws inspiration from some the world’s most successful and ambitious innovation hubs, like 22@ in Barcelona, Spain and MaRS in Toronto, Canada.

The redevelopment of this site will attract world-leading companies and research institutes, as well as startups and entrepreneurs. It will be the first step in transforming the wider Fishermans Bend area.

To kickstart the innovation precinct, the Victorian Government has committed $179.4 million in funding over three years. This will add crucial infrastructure and services to the 32-hectare site, including new roads and a public park.

Driving innovation

The Fishermans Bend Innovation Precinct will bring leading companies together with startups and other emerging organisations, helping these new businesses grow and thrive. The University of Melbourne has already committed to building a presence there and plans to open a new Engineering and Design Innovation Campus by 2025.

The innovation precinct is one of five precincts in Fishermans Bend, which is Australia's largest urban renewal project and one of seven National Employment and Innovation Cluster (NEIC) in Melbourne. These clusters of employment and business activity are centred around medical, research and tertiary institutions.

With the Commonwealth Defence Science and Technology facility, as well as global firms Boeing and Siemens already established in the area, the Fishermans Bend NEIC is expected to welcome 40,000 new jobs and over 20,000 students by 2050.

Fostering connection and collaboration

Chair of the Fishermans Bend Development Board, Meredith Sussex, says innovation precincts like Fishermans Bend are much needed in Australia.

“Australia has been really strongly regarded in basic research and applied research. What we haven’t been good at is translating that into commercial outcomes,” she said.

“The point of an innovation precinct is to change that, to provide what is necessary to take invention with research and ideas through to implementation, and to ensure the benefits of research get translated into benefits for the Australian people.”

“You need to actively bring together researchers, entrepreneurs, investors and talented people, and you need to help them work together in a supportive culture. That’s the concept of the Fishermans Bend Innovation Precinct,” Ms Sussex said.