The Hon Marlene Kairouz MP - travel report - United States of America, 29 September - 9 October 2019
|Minister||The Hon Marlene Kairouz MP|
Minister for Consumer Affairs
|Countries visited||United States of America|
|Date of travel||29 September to 9 October 2019 (inclusive)|
|No. of official travel days|
(including day of departure and day of return)
|Number of accompanying ministerial staff||1|
|Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity||No|
|Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency)||Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions|
|Air fares (including taxes and fees)||$43,301*|
|Accommodation (including taxes and fees)||$14,385*|
|Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances)||$14,495*|
|Travel cost for minister and staff||$72,181*|
*The above costs are not final and complete
Purpose of travel
The purpose of my visit to the United States of America was to build relationships and to learn about issues relevant to my portfolios of Suburban Development and Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, to share and discuss Victoria’s experiences with these issues and to discuss opportunities.
In my capacity as Minister for Suburban Development, I was invited to represent the State of Victoria at the Smart Cities conference in Washington DC, where I delivered a speech and presentation as part of a session called ‘International Smart Cities: Lessons from Abroad.’
In Washington DC, New York and Las Vegas, I met with key stakeholders from State Regulators, City Governments and key organisations who focus on urban development challenges, to build relationships and discuss programs relating to citizen participation, precinct and suburban revitalisation, affordable and social housing, and economic and community development. These areas are aligned with Victorian Government priorities and programs including the Metropolitan Partnerships, Pick My Project, precincts development, gaming regulation and Victoria’s record investment in infrastructure and public transport.
I also received briefings and tours at key suburban revitalisation, urban renewal and business improvement district sites in Washington DC and New York.
In my capacity as Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, I met with law makers and casino operators to discuss regulation relating to gaming operations and strategies to curb money laundering, policies to improve the regulation of casino junkets, as well as emerging technologies such as skill-based gaming machines and the evolution of gaming products with both regulators and casino operators.
Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria
My trip presented many opportunities to both learn international perspectives and impart knowledge of the Victorian Government's approaches to both of my portfolios, Suburban Development and Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation.
At the Smart Cities conference, I delivered a speech and presentation as part of a session called ‘International Smart Cities: Lessons from Abroad.’ The focus of my presentation was sharing insights on how the Victorian Government is working towards making Melbourne a more sustainable and smarter city of the future. The conference provided me with a variety of views, and I was able to talk about how the Victorian Government is putting people at the centre of decision-making with regard to our city, through the Metropolitan Partnerships.
My Suburban Development portfolio is working to ensure all of Melbourne’s citizens have access to jobs, services and infrastructure, no matter where they live. We are also working to bring a community voice to the Victorian Government’s decision making by appointing the Metropolitan Partnership advisory bodies. These bodies provide independent advice on issues facing Melbourne’s suburbs, such as affordable housing and place-based planning. Another way we are doing this is through the Pick My Project program, which has involved citizen engagement in the design and selection of projects to deliver better outcomes for local communities.
In Washington DC, I met with senior representatives of the Government of the District of Columbia, including the Directors of the Office of Planning and Department of Housing and Community Development. I was briefed on their approach to strategic planning, including their commitment to inclusiveness in planning processes and their work on planning tools to enhance the equity and diversity of housing across Washington DC.
In New York, I met with the Commissioner of the New York City Community Affairs Unit, the Chair of the New York City Civic Engagement Commission and the Chief Executive Officer of the Citizens Committee for New York City to discuss their approaches to community engagement and to share Victorian Government’s experiences in bringing a community voice to decision making by appointing the Metropolitan Partnership advisory bodies and delivering the Pick My Project program. I was particularly interested to learn about the different ways they are approaching civic engagement, through initiatives like community boards, participatory budgeting, public assemblies and small grants to bring people together in their local neighbourhood.
I also received a briefing from senior representatives of the Office of the Mayor of New York City on the approach the Department of City Planning has taken to place-based planning studies and revitalisation projects, affordable housing and community engagement.
At each engagement I gained insights into opportunities for Melbourne to further enhance our community engagement approaches and how we can support the community in addressing the issues that they raise as priorities for their regions. I was also able to showcase Melbourne and the programs the Victorian Government has invested in to protect and further enhance liveability for all Melburnians.
My Suburban Development portfolio is currently rolling out a revitalisation program for key suburban centres across Melbourne to provide for a growing population and help improve social and economic opportunities for the community. In this context, I was interested to learn more about how the planning, development and management processes of revitalisation projects facilitate social and economic revitalisation in urban neighbourhoods.
In Washington DC, I met with the President of the NoMa Business Improvement District and received a briefing on how the Business Improvement District model is being used to facilitate urban revitalisation in rapidly growing areas. I received a site tour of the district to view the benefits of their place-making initiatives first-hand.
In New York, I received tours of urban revitalisation projects including the City of New Rochelle, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the High Line and Hudson Yards. These tours gave me first-hand insights into the significant transformation and economic and community benefits that can be achieved through innovative revitalisation funding and governance models.
In Las Vegas, I met with senior representatives of the City of Las Vegas to discuss the Las Vegas Innovation District. I received a briefing about the work they are doing to bring innovative start-ups together to trial new smart city technologies on-ground.
At each engagement I gained insights into approaches that can inform our work in Melbourne. I was able to share our experiences with revitalisation in Melbourne and the programs the Victorian Government has invested in to stimulate and enhance suburban areas.
I met with senior representatives of the American Gaming Association in Washington DC and the Nevada Gaming Commission and Nevada Gaming Control Board in Las Vegas to discuss areas of mutual interest including prevention of money laundering, gaming policy and industry regulation.
The Nevada Gaming Commission and Nevada Control Board offered insight into the regulatory challenges faced in one of the world’s biggest and most innovative jurisdictions.
I also met with casino operators at the MGM casino in Las Vegas to discuss emerging technologies such as skill-based gaming machines, the evolution of gaming products and money laundering prevention practices. We also discussed the regulation of casino junkets and the framework casino operators like MGM use to ensure the integrity of both those who operate junkets and those who participate in junkets as players.
At these engagements I was able to share the Victorian Government’s experiences and strategies to ensure safe, responsible and fair gaming practices in Victoria.
Next Steps / Follow Up
I am sharing learnings from the visit with my portfolio areas in the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions and the Department of Justice and Community Safety, so that this can inform their work as they progress the policies and programs of each of my portfolio areas.
I have recently written to the organisations I met with, extending an offer to continue to collaborate and inviting them to visit Melbourne in the future. The departments will follow up on these offers to continue sharing and collaboration.
Page last updated: 5 June 2020