For most of 2020, the Committee for Geelong has been working with Honorary Professor Louise Johnson, Dr Meg Mundell and Rebecca Bartell from Deakin University on a research project to help understand Geelong and its historic ability to rebound from economic shocks.
Last week, we launched the Resilient Geelong – Reasons for Success and Challenges for a Post-COVID-19 Future research paper.
Tracking Geelong’s economic and social resilience over three decades, this 116-page research paper details Geelong’s journey of employment, population growth and key economic sectoral change with the aim of provoking and providing guidance for innovative ideas and collaboration for a socially and economically inclusive and prosperous Geelong. We see this paper as just the start of a conversation with the community.
Resilient Geelong covers the journey of employment, the diversification of the economy
and the development of strategic sectoral specialisations. This, along with population growth, has acted as an economic shock absorber and helped to withstand setbacks and significant community loss. It also reviews how coordinated government policy and community leadership have also been pivotal for Geelong to absorb, adapt and transform, as well as mitigate some of the negative effects of economic disruptions. When we all work together, Geelong benefits.
Resilient Geelong also makes 15 recommendations, with several recommendations already being progressed via strategic initiatives with the Committee for Geelong. For example:
- Future of Work – development of a local action plan with a focus on skills development, youth employment and pathways to work, and leveraging the impact of digital on flexible work;
- Brand Geelong project via the City of Greater Geelong’s Vision Partners Forum to inform a creative campaign positioning Geelong as a great place to live, work, study & invest;
- Creative Industries sector strategic planning for the region in partnership with G21 Geelong Region Alliance and local cultural and creative organisations;
- Gateway Cities Alliance study into Supply Chain & Logistics with the City of Greater Geelong, City of Newcastle and Wollongong City Council;
- Gateway Cities Alliance partnership with Deakin University, University of Newcastle and University of Wollongong working with regional health agencies regarding opportunities in medical research;
- An evidenced-based retail and commercial strategy for Geelong;
- Ongoing collaboration with other local advocacy organisations that formed the Geelong COVID Collective during 2020 which builds on the ‘one voice’ for Geelong concept.
Other recommendations are being addressed through recent announcements from the Victorian and Federal Governments including funding and initiatives in social housing, investment in local manufacturing and infrastructure for the Great Ocean Road and Geelong rail, incentives for research & development, support for tourism campaigns and Skilling the Bay, increased capacity of broadband infrastructure to Geelong via NBN, and a range of projects to support renewable energy and the circular economy.
There are also recommendations, which focus on the urban design of Geelong and its sustainability and liveability which we believe need to be addressed in partnership with local, state and federal government planning and investment. Some of these recommendations may be realised through the City Deal, the drafting of the Central Geelong Framework Plan and Revitalising Central Geelong initiatives. However, the Committee for Geelong will continue to advocate for long-term strategic planning for Geelong and the need for a ‘Plan Geelong.’ Geelong is growing fast, and a dedicated plan will provide a significant opportunity to deliver on the work of Vision 2 – of which the Green Spine project is just one element – and support the community’s 30-year Clever and Creative vision.
To read Resilient Geelong visit: www.committeeforgeelong.com.au.
CEO, Committee for Geelong