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Committee for Geelong's Weekly Addy Opinion Piece - International Speaker Series

The Committee for Geelong, in partnership with the City of Greater Geelong, hosted a very special guest this week: Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia, USA.

Secretary Jones' visit to our city marked the start of the Committee's International Speaker Series - USA Chapter, and was a direct result of our trade mission to the USA in 2015, a trip aimed at forming international ties for our region.

Co-hosting Secretary Jones with the City of Greater Geelong was a great opportunity to showcase our region, and explore how we can build links with the Commonwealth of Virginia in key sectors. Learning from other successful cities and building international relationships plays an essential part in transforming Geelong.

Only visiting three cities in Australia - Sydney, Melbourne and Geelong - Secretary Jones met with all levels of Government, together with industry representatives from Geelong such as Winchester Australia, the Port of Geelong, Tribal Campus, Boundary Bend Olives, Harwood Andrews, West Carr Harvey, Executive Travel Management, the Geelong Football Club, Tourism Greater Geelong & the Bellarine and Deakin University.

Secretary Jones' inspirational speech at an industry event held at The Pier reaffirmed many aspects already known about Geelong - reasons to be truly proud of our city and what has been achieved.

He mentioned the kindness of our people, and how welcoming they are; he spoke highly of our wonderful port, our great university, a growing healthcare industry, a strong industrial base and our infrastructure that connects talent with markets.

Drawing connections between Virginia and Geelong, Secretary Jones shared some priorities that helped drive economic growth in his home state, including investment in infrastructure, access to high speed broadband internet, talent ready to launch into the 21st century workplace and an environment that allows business growth.

Virginia's key sectors are also quite similar to Geelong's, including technology, advanced manufacturing and tourism, making Secretary Jones' insights even more valuable.

At the end of his visit to Geelong, Secretary Jones described his experiences in our city:

"My visit to Geelong has been very positive. My favourite things about the city include the beautiful waterfront and wonderful public art, which provides a great sense of place.  The Port of Geelong is also impressive, and it provides the city with an incredible gateway to the global economy.

"Both Simonds Stadium and the Geelong Football Club were equally impressive, and sport is a tool that can continue to make Geelong strong and competitive. Most importantly, the people in Geelong are incredibly welcoming. My time in the region gave me a chance to meet with different industry representatives to forge partnerships between Geelong and Virginia.

"There are many opportunities for collaboration, and I look forward to developing the relationship between Virginia and Geelong to leverage the potential business, tourism and trade opportunities that have come from the productive meetings during my time here."

It was a true privilege to host someone of Secretary Jones' expertise, professionalism and enthusiasm.  As a city, we can be proud of the impression Geelong is making on a global scale.


Pictured: Brett Luxford (CoGG), Secretary Jones, Rebecca Casson (CfG CEO) & Dan Simmonds (CfG Chair)





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