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CfG's statement on Geelong City Deal

Geelong City Deal Needs Clearer Geelong Focus

The Committee for Geelong believes that it is essential for the Geelong region to be involved in a city deal bid, however it is calling for a clear focus on distinctly 'Geelong-centric' projects.

Whilst support from the G21 Geelong Region Alliance and the other regional councils is essential, the Committee for Geelong believes that, as the largest local government authority in the region, it should be the role of the City of Greater Geelong to be setting priorities for the bid and leading it.

Significant projects that have already been discussed include major infrastructure opportunities such as revitalising Central Geelong, a convention centre, the redevelopment of GPAC, the final stage of Kardinia Park, Royal Geelong Yacht Club's Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour project, the Geelong Mineral Spa proposal, further development of Avalon Airport, investment in Geelong Port, the Northern ARC, the opportunities arising from Bay West and the future development of the Moolap site.

The Committee believes that these types of transformational projects have the biggest potential to drive much needed jobs and growth in Geelong.

While potential projects such as an upgrade to the Great Ocean Road could also offer benefits, the Committee believes there are potentially more pressing priorities which could deliver bigger wins in driving economic development.

There may also be other funding streams, outside the city deal, to address issues on the Great Ocean Road, together with the other projects that were mentioned in G21's media release including: Fort Queenscliff Master Plan implementation, Gateway to the Great Ocean Road, Surf City Museum upgrade, development or upgrades to various bike and walking trails, Apollo Bay Harbour precinct and conference facility, Lorne Point Grey Precinct Redevelopment and implementation of the Shipwreck Coast Master Plan.

Geelong's city deal is dependent on successfully leveraging private sector investment, and the Committee believes that attracting significant support will be largely dependent on developing projects of scale and substance in Victoria's second largest city.

The Committee believes a city deal for Geelong should seek to revitalise development; activate industry and export growth; support long term growth of local businesses; improve education and training; boost liveability and enhance planning, co-ordination and governance.

One example could be a focus on public transport with a specific emphasis on improving the Melbourne to Geelong train line. Providing certainty of transport funding for the next ten years, and reviewing future opportunities for high speed rail, should all be considered.

In addition, local employment opportunities, local and social procurement, together with training, reskilling and upskilling are all vital to a future city deal. Clearly, both The Gordon and Deakin University should also be intrinsically involved in future city deal discussions.

Good city deals also offer devolution of powers and funding, which is dependent on the city being able to demonstrate strong and accountable leadership.

With this in mind, the Committee has called for the various Geelong representative groups to be brave enough to consider a formal governance review of their own organisations, including the Committee for Geelong.

As evidenced by the Committee's international Winning from Second research report, establishing a 'One Geelong' structure could prove to the Federal Government that, whilst we may have different views, we can all speak with one voice regarding Victoria's second largest city - the city deal is a perfect vehicle for that, and could further galvanise the Geelong community.

The Committee is scheduled to present its Winning from Second research, which includes the 'One Geelong' concept, to both the Boards of the G21 Geelong Region Alliance and the Geelong Chamber of Commerce in the next two months.



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