RMIT experts are available for comment on Melbourne Travel Voucher Scheme

RMIT experts are available for comment on Melbourne Travel Voucher Scheme

Liveability, business and marketing experts from RMIT University are available to talk to media about the $10 million Melbourne travel voucher scheme to entice Victorians to stay and play in metropolitan Melbourne.


Dr Lucy Gunn (0403 121 155 or )

Topics: liveability, healthy cities, wellbeing, city planning, walkability

“Lockdowns, working from home, and distance restrictions have forced Melburnians to make greater use of their local environments, highlighting the importance of liveability and local living. 

“Local activity centres in Northcote, Fitzroy, and St Kilda are buzzing with people not needing or able to travel into the city for work or play. 

"While this is great news for inner metropolitan areas, Melbourne's CBD is in desperate need of stimulation and revitalisation - and a key component of this is people. 

“While considered a liveable city for a metropolis like Melbourne to be sustained, both socially and economically, it requires more than the people living in the CBD.  

“Office workers and visitors are required to bring the city and its economy back to life and a voucher system will only go part of the way to doing that. 

“The new vouchers may inject some temporary buzz back into the city, but it is vaccinations and sustained confidence that comes from having certainty that will bring the city back to its former glory.”

Dr Lucy Gunn is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT. She is currently researching the health impact of designing healthy, liveable cities. Previous projects have addressed economic evaluation of brownfield and greenfield sites, transit-oriented development in metropolitan Melbourne, and creating liveable cities using indicators of liveability. Gunn also works as a research consultant in partnership with community and government.


Matthew Salier (Contact RMIT Communications on 0439 704 077 or

Topics: business transformation, startups, entrepreneurship, innovation, business models, corporate innovation, future skills, cyber resilience

"CBD businesses told us through our City of Melbourne flyer drop program they were disappointed with the level of funding support going to regional Victoria and not to city businesses. Difficulty in navigating the well-intentioned, but complex, support available has been frustrating in a crisis.

"This voucher scheme may indeed be a shot in the arm. There's no doubting it's needed; these businesses are worried about how to pay their rent and their staff next week.

"Optimism is needed more than anything. 

"Small businesses are telling us they need foot traffic to return to the CBD. They're desperate to get their customers back and tills turning over again. Unfortunately, this last lockdown has been the last straw for another group of CBD businesses.

 "What we've identified and are delivering is a need to set small businesses up for long-term success.

"With this Roadmap to Recovery program, we are enabling business owners to be thinking about their own economic recovery and necessarily different ways to work into the future.

"Longer-term economic sustainability for small businesses in the CBD is crucial for a vibrant and thriving city environment and we are committed to support them to get there." 
Matthew Salier is the Director of RMIT Activator, the heart of entrepreneurship at RMIT University. He is passionate about helping people and businesses to thrive in a connected digital world. Matthew has worked with hundreds of start-ups, small, medium and large public and private organisations for the past 25 years, helping them to apply creativity, strategic thinking, new ideas and new technologies to traditional business challenges. He's also an intrapreneur, having created five social innovation and impact spin outs within larger organisations.

Dr Meg Elkins (0410 323 057 or

Topics: behavioural economics, cultural economics, public policy evaluation, wellbeing and poverty  

“Melbourne, our once vibrant cultural creative centre, has lost its sparkle – the people who activate a city. 

“While the City of Melbourne has engaged in activations with high profile musicians, such as Tones & I, Jimmy Barnes, Darrel Braithwaite, and local buskers, the real power in activating a city and its suburbs comes back to the principle of social norms. 

“Going out in the current circumstances is complex (social distancing and when to wear a mask in public) and we are still working out how to engage and feel safe in the new normal.

“But the reason why people don’t go out isn’t all about the money, it is about ingrained behaviours developed in lockdown. 

“We have found new ways to fill this void of cultural engagement which have become habits, such as staying in for Netflix and engaging with the family.

“A voucher is an extrinsic motivator of behaviour, but whether people engage in the scheme depends on their intrinsic motivation to participate in culture and tourism. 

“It will work if it is not a one-off form of engagement but part of a plan to return again and again to Melbourne’s activity centres.

“We have to form new habits to draw us back.”

Dr Meg Elkins is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT University and the Behavioural Business Lab. Her research interests include cultural and development economics, wellbeing and public policy evaluation.


Associate Professor Con Stavros (0411 231 371 or
Topics: marketing, brand Melbourne, sport marketing 

“Melbourne has traditionally seen the month of March as a jewel in its events calendar, building on what many see as the best weather of the year to facilitate an international event in the Grand Prix and a range of other local festivals, including Moomba.

“While the events cupboard is not bare despite the postponement of the Grand Prix, generating enthusiasm and engagement with what remains presents unique difficulties.

“Bureaucrats need to think far beyond blunt sales promotion techniques such as vouchers.

“The State's ultra-cautious approach in managing the pandemic has made marketing Melbourne, normally an easy task, into one with significant challenges. 

“While the pieces of what makes the state special remain, the marketing messaging, where it even exists, needs to be of wholehearted and authentic optimism, which is what fuels consumer confidence. 

“As consumers look for clues as to what the future might hold, clarity and positivity are the secrets of marketing success. 

“Whether now is the time for that or not can be debated, however if Melbourne lets March slide by it would be forsaking a significant opportunity to shift its narrative from caution to confidence.”

Associate Professor Con Stavros is a leading expert in the marketing of, and through, sport. He is a regular media commentator, has published numerous books and articles on sport and is the editor of the international journal Sport, Business & Management.



For media enquiries, please contact RMIT Communications: 0439 704 077 or


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