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Committee for Geelong's Weekly Addy Opinion Piece - Civic leadership

Geelong was recently given a message - our region needs to be united in leading Geelong through its transformation.  This message was conveyed at two different events in Geelong by two high-profile speakers in very different contexts.

Dr Kathy Alexander, Administrator (Chair), of the City of Greater Geelong delivered the message as part of her speech at the Committee for Geelong's Annual Dinner and Leadership Graduation event at The Pier.

"Now is the time for civic leadership, based on good values that will lead to good behaviours."

By good values, Dr Alexander was referring to open communication, honesty and treating each other with respect, even where you might disagree with a decision or opinion "Civic leadership is not just the responsibility of those in city hall, but the responsibility of all in our community".

'Civic' is defined as relating to the duties or activities of people in relation to their town, city, or local area.  Our whole community, therefore, has the opportunity to be civic leaders.

"The research evidence is very clear that the most successful cities are the ones which use their differences and their diversity, who have strong civic participation, who broaden engagement and who share resources to ensure social inclusion and equity. They become safer, they become vibrant and they become economically sustainable," Dr Alexander said.

The second time this message was conveyed was during a visit to Geelong by the Victorian Defence Advocate, Greg Combet, a former federal minister, who has been appointed to represent Victoria to defence companies for major projects to be built in our state.

Greg spoke to an audience of business leaders about "the value of a consistent and strong message from Geelong about its capability and being a great place to live and work".

He urged all Geelong's civic leaders to be unified and relenting in advocating for our region and said "the key focus in bringing defence projects to Geelong is to lobby and work with our local politicians to influence decision making in Canberra".

The recent announcement that the Land 400 project has shortlisted the bidder from four to two is not detrimental to Geelong.  It simply means we have only two companies to convince that they should be based in our region.

If we are to heed the words of Dr Alexander and Greg Combet, two highly respected leaders, and specifically on issues such as Land 400, we need a unified civic voice to convince the remaining defence bidders.

A Geelong region delegation will be in Adelaide this September for the 2016 Land Forces Conference where all senior army and defence personnel will be present.  There, Greg Combet, the City of Greater Geelong, Committee for Geelong and Geelong Manufacturing Council, together with other organisations and businesses will be presenting one unified message that our region remains a great place to invest, live, work and play. 

We urge all Geelong region politicians, businesses and organisations to join the delegation, and attend the conference to amplify our city's unified voice.

As Geelong transforms, and future opportunities arise, it is vital that all levels of civic leadership continue to present a united front.

Rebecca Casson is the Committee for Geelong Chief Executive Officer. Follow the Committee for Geelong on Twitter @Comm4Geelong.



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