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Committee for Geelong's Weekly Addy Opinion Piece - Federal Election Priorities

The countdown is gathering pace to the 2016 Federal election and the Committee for Geelong has collaborated with the City of Greater Geelong and the Geelong Chamber of Commerce to highlight a number of shared priorities for our region.

As Geelong transforms, our focus is clear - Geelong needs growth and Geelong needs jobs, and we believe that the projects we have nominated for support, from all political parties, can deliver both.

As Victoria's second city, Geelong deserves an international airport at Avalon.  There is a need and a market for it, and it would provide an economic boost in terms of increased visitor traffic and an improved export/import channel.

Revitalising Central Geelong is also a key priority. The popularity of the Malop Street Lab showed that street scaping and urban revitalisation works - and investment in public infrastructure - help stimulate private sector investment and we are keen to see more of it.

Geelong also deserves a venue that has the scale and facilities to host national and international functions, along with the knowledge exchange that comes from welcoming speakers and visitors from around the country and the world.

The time has never been more right for a Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

We also believe the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct will be a powerful economic catalyst, igniting the next stage of investment in the waterfront, in alignment with the City of Greater Geelong's and the Victorian Government's vision and planning for the area.

As Geelong and south west Victoria continues to grow our region also needs appropriate public transport options.  The duplication of the rail track - particularly between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds - is critical to support our urban growth.

The Federal Government has outlined its vision for 'supporting productive, accessible, liveable cities that attract talent, encourage innovation and create jobs and growth' through its Smart Cities Plan and we believe Geelong's Runway project, ticks all of those boxes.

The Geelong Performing Arts Centre redevelopment is another priority and should stand proud as a key civic facility for our region, attracting an expected four million visitors to Geelong over a decade and bringing increased opportunities for artists and community access to world class productions.

And we believe it is critical that what has been started at Simonds Stadium is finished.

The capital investment to date must be appropriately supported and the project completed to fulfil the strategic vision and long-term potential of this pivotal piece of infrastructure for regional Victoria.

We are also supportive of the G21 Region Opportunities for Work initiative, together with the Land 400 program - and we believe they both deserve support from all political parties.

In line with the Federal Government's Smart Cities Plan we also consider it is time for a new focus on urban centres - such as Geelong - in order to develop a policy and strategic approach tailored to cities that are not state capitals, but at the same time play a larger role than regional townships.

So, roll on July 2!

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



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