The origins of LeadWest stretch back to a regional development body created in the 1973. The creation of the Western Region Commission brought together nine councils: Altona, Bacchus Marsh, Essendon, Footscray, Keilor, Melton, Sunshine, Werribee, and Williamstown.
This body was initially focused on a Metropolitan Area Improvement Program, which was a significant step towards solving some major urban problems and involving local people in planning for the improvement of their areas.
After local government amalgamations in the 1990s, the six local governments of Melbourne's west formed the Western Region Economic Development Organisation (WREDO). A not-for-profit organisation, WREDO’s purpose was to advance the economy of Melbourne’s west, within the context of both local and global marketplaces. It served the region well for a decade, winding up in February 2005.
In the 2006, several organisations in Melbourne's west resolved that the region needed a collective forum for the development of a broader regional strategy and expression of a common regional advocacy voice. With Geelong's G21 Alliance as a model for the initiative, five of the six local governments in Melbourne's west agreed to form and fund LeadWest.
To ensure the structure of LeadWest reflected best practice in regional strategic and sustainable development and advocacy, some effort was invested in examining regional bodies internationally.
This lead to the conclusion that LeadWest should be established as an independent company limited by guarantee, with representatives from the councils forming a majority of the Board of Directors, complemented by representation from key businesses and institutions in Melbourne's west.
Today, LeadWest's membership includes all six local governments in Melbourne's west and they are joined by major companies and other organisations, each with substantial operations or interests that are based in Melbourne's west. LeadWest's members include the region's largest employers, leading firms from the region's most significant industry sectors, and the entities managing significant enabling infrastructure, such as our water, energy and telecommunications networks.
LeadWest also has a growing number of Affiliates, primarly not-for-profit organisations and each playing a significant role in our region.