Skip to main content

City Economy Advisory Committee

City of Melbourne has established a new City Economy Advisory Committee, bringing key business, industry and stakeholder groups together to boost Melbourne’s appeal as an all-day destination.

On 31 October 2023, Council endorsed the membership for the City Economy Advisory Committee, which will provide strategic advice to City of Melbourne on the challenges and opportunities facing the city's economy. The committee will analyse the city's economic conditions and identify opportunities for growth as well as driving visitation and demand for city businesses.

A group of people posing for the camera
​L - R back row - George Karabatsos, Jason Tabarias, Hakim Halim, Paul Waterson, Rebecca Scott, Aiman Hamdouna, Lord Mayor Sally Capp. ​L - R front row - Councillor Kevin Louey, Arabella Richards, Dr Jaye Chin-Dusting, Councillor Roshena Campbell, Councillor Jason Chang

The committee membership comprises experts from Melbourne's renowned retail and hospitality sectors, the innovation and social enterprise sectors and one of Australia's largest employers:

  • Dr Jaye Chin-Dusting, Owner, Mary Martin Bookshop
  • Hakim Halim, Founder of Ripe Cheese
  • Aiman Hamdouna, CEO of Hatch Quarter
  • Caitlyn Hammond, Department of Jobs, Skills Industry and Regions. Director, Priority Projects
  • George Karabatsos, AsheMorgan. Head of Retail & Mixed Use Investments, CEO of District Docklands
  • Arabella Richards, Dexus. Centre General Manager at QV Melbourne
  • Rebecca Scott, Co-founder and CEO of STREAT
  • Jason Tabarias, Senior Advisor at the Susan McKinnon Foundation
  • Jo van Zeeland, Head of Communications Enterprise Agreement, National Australia Bank Limited (NAB)
  • Paul Waterson, CEO of Australian Venue Co., which manages Beer DeLuxe Fed Square and Morris House

Council has appointed Councillor Roshena Campbell to the position of Chair, with Councillor Kevin Louey and Councillor Jason Chang appointed as additional members.

City Economy Summit

Following the City Economy Summit in December 2023, the Future Melbourne Committee has approved 11 actions aimed at bolstering our city’s economy. These actions focus on short-term measures through direct council initiatives, partnerships and advocacy.

Stakeholder insights were invaluable in shaping these recommendations, which were reviewed and prioritised by our City Economy Advisory Committee earlier this year.

The approved actions are:

City of Melbourne delivery

  • Target audiences who are likely to engage with events and activations during the daytime (such as office workers and young families).
  • Deliver capability-building initiatives that support the entrepreneurial efforts of people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Improve employability outcomes for international students through activities such as a trial paid internship program.
  • Showcase businesses adopting innovative new business models, through case studies and success stories.
  • Improve the products and platforms that share data insights with businesses.
  • Progress a review of the permit streams related to street activity (busking, outdoor dining and street trading). Devise a new policy and permit provisions, based on community engagement findings.
  • Address the barriers to visitation, seeking opportunities to present innovative solutions.

Partnerships with others

  • Improve safety responses and perceptions of safety, through enhanced enforcement programs and cleaning initiatives.
  • Strengthen connections between events and experience economy businesses (such as retail, hospitality and entertainment).

Advocacy to other levels of government

  • Advocate for variable transport fare pricing to encourage city visitation, with a focus on office workers.
  • Improve current coordination measures between Council and key stakeholders, aiming to simplify and streamline processes.

To learn more about the approved actions, please refer to the FMC report.

The City of Melbourne remains committed to working with stakeholders to support a thriving city. For any further information about the City Economy Summit or City Economy Advisory Committee, please contact

Committee members

Jaye Chin-Dusting

Jaye Chin-Dusting is the current owner of the Mary Martin Bookshops located on Wurundjeri country in Southgate, Port Melbourne and the Queen Victoria Market. Mary Martin won ABIA bookshop of the year in 2019 and is a 2023 Lord Mayors Small Business of the Year finalist. 

Jaye is a board member of the Australian Booksellers Association, co-hosts The Booksellers Podcast and is a former Professor of Medical Research, a past-President of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia, founding Chair of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance and former Chair of the Australian Boys Choir. She reads voraciously and is passionate about excellence, education and community.

Hakim Halim

Singapore-born Hakim Halim chose Melbourne to be his home for the last 13 years. A marketer by trade with experience in Asia-Pacific, he eventually felt the rat race of working in corporate unfulfilling. He founded the world's only all-Australian cheese retail brand, RIPE. Recently he was awarded, Lord Mayor's Small Business of the Year and expanded his business to include an Australian free-range cured meats brand, & Cured.

Aiman Hamdona

Aiman is a visionary leader and strategist known for his expertise in startups, business management, innovation, and the development of startup ecosystems.

His strong focus on economic development, especially within high-growth technology and innovation sectors, enables him to foster global connections and drive initiatives for sustainable growth.

Aiman's proven track record in shaping startup landscapes and facilitating impactful connections positions him as an invaluable asset for advancing economic development goals.

Caitlyn Hammond has spent her career in strategy, policy and engagement across public transport, infrastructure, education, science and economic development in both the public and private sectors.

She is the Director Priority Projects in the Victorian Government's Department of Jobs, Skills Industry and Regions, working across the Department's portfolios to support drivers of economic growth.

Having spent the earlier part of her career in community engagement, Caitlyn's approach is driven by the belief that diverse perspectives are essential to achieve exceptional outcomes.

George Karabatsos
With over 25 years' experience, including CEO/COO, company directorships and leadership roles at top 50 ASX companies, Private Equity and Private CO s, George has extensive knowledge and capability in the areas of property investment/asset management and the delivery of significant retail and mixed use projects focused on delivering on the needs of and contributing to the well-being of the customers and communities at the centre of his focus.

Arabella Richards

Arabella Richards leads the Melbourne Dexus retail precincts, QV Melbourne, 80 Collins and Galleria. She has extensive experience across the property and retail sectors, leading retail assets in NSW and Victoria for Dexus and Scentre Group and national and regional retail teams at Telstra, Westpac and Chatime.

Arabella is passionate about creating great customer experiences, connecting with local communities and leading teams to innovate and implement continuous improvements.

Arabella actively contributes to the retail and property industry and local community. She is Chair of the Retail Property Council Committee and takes a leadership role collaborating with all the retail precincts across the CBD, representing the interests of the city s retail sector.

Rebecca Scott
Rebecca (Bec) is the Co-founder and CEO of STREAT, a Melbourne-based social enterprise that works with marginalised young people aged 16-24 years and provides them with a healthy self, job and home.

The organisation runs a portfolio of 12 foodservice businesses, including cafes, an artisan bakery, a catering company, and a coffee roastery. In its first decade STREAT worked intensively with over 500 young people, and with a further 1500 through its outreach programs and short courses.

STREAT is committed to addressing catastrophic climate change and biodiversity loss, and is collaborating to create a larger range of green jobs within the city with partner social enterprises.

Jason Tabarias

Jason Tabarias is an economics and public policy leader with a focus on social equity and inclusive growth. Jason is a Senior Advisor at the Susan McKinnon Foundation, advising on improvements to public policy making, democratic institutions and government's role in prosperity and growth. Jason was previously a founding Partner at Mandala, Australia s fastest-growing economics and public policy firm based in Melbourne with offices around the country. Jason also holds roles with the ANU's Crawford School of Public Policy (Canberra) and the Forum of Federations (Canada).

Jason's experience includes working in senior strategy consulting roles in the UK, Australia and New Zealand and in senior public policy roles for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (Victoria) and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (New Zealand).

Jo van Zeeland

Jo van Zeeland is passionate about guiding people and businesses to be the best they can individually and collectively. She has more than 25 years experience helping identify and develop clear, supportive communication approaches that address high impact challenges related to purpose, performance, leadership, culture and social value.

Jo's focus on building and nurturing collaborative relationships has seen her aligning and developing diverse teams, coaching and facilitating individuals and groups, managing reputation and risk, and working closely with others across a range of industries and areas of interest to engage people and bring ideas to life.

Paul Waterson

Paul led the creation of Australian Venue Co (AVC) and has driven the group s rapid growth from a small Victorian pub group to one of the country s largest and most dynamic hospitality groups.

AVC is Australia s second largest venue operator with 210 venues across Australia and New Zealand. AVC employs over 900 people within the City of Melbourne and has 13 venues including institutions such as Garden State, Imperial Hotel, Yarra Botanica and Melbourne s oldest licensed pub the Duke of Wellington.

AVC s headquarters are located within the City of Melbourne.

our acknowledgement

  • Torres Strait Islander Flag
  • Aboriginal People Flag

The City of Melbourne respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land we govern, the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Bunurong / Boon Wurrung peoples of the Kulin and pays respect to their Elders past and present. 


We acknowledge and honour the unbroken spiritual, cultural and political connection they have maintained to this unique place for more than 2000 generations.

We accept the invitation in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and are committed to walking together to build a better future.