Priority picks: G21’s big asks for Bellarine projects

October 21, 2021 BY

G21 is seeking $21.8 million to complete waterside commercial infrastructure and improve road and pedestrian access to the harbour in the Portarlington Safe Harbour Project. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE date of the next federal election is not yet set, but G21 has updated the region’s list of priorities and is pitching them in Canberra this week.

Released this week, the Priority Projects document requests nearly $1.6 billion in state and/or federal funding for specific projects in the immediate to mid-term, plus millions more in partnerships with either or both levels of government.

Some of the biggest asks for the Bellarine include:

  • $160 million to build Bellarine Link connecting Baanip Boulevard to Portarlington Road, prioritising the Surf Coast Highway connection to Barwon Heads Road
  • $30 million for the North Bellarine Pool stage two
  • $21.8 million to complete waterside commercial infrastructure and improve road and pedestrian access to the harbour in the Portarlington Safe Harbour Project
  • $500,000 to plan for road upgrades and improvements on the Breakwater-Moolap corridor
  • $300,000 for a Bellarine Shared Trails business case
  • Funding for an Ocean Grove-Point Lonsdale trail business case, and
  • Funding for a Bellarine Rail Trail (Drysdale to Ocean Grove) business case.

G21 chief executive officer Giulia Baggio said the leading advocacy group’s Priority Projects 2021-22 had been refreshed following six months of consultation across the region with input from several stakeholders.

“The document also takes into account the LGA four-year plans of the City of Greater Geelong, Golden Plains, Colac Otway, Surf Coast and the Borough of Queenscliffe.”

She said G21 would be holding a round of meetings in Canberra this week with senior government ministers and shadow ministers.

The mayors of Geelong, Golden Plains, Queenscliffe, Surf Coast and Colac Otway will represent the region alongside Ms Baggio, as will GeelongPort chief executive officer Brett Winter, who will speak about the requirements for the Spirit of Tasmania. G21 says this needs $15 million for essential infrastructure to support the ferry’s relocation to Geelong next year.

In its introduction, the document notes more than $5 billion had been committed to G21’s five LGAs over the past two years, but the “extraordinary growth” of the past five years meant still more funding was needed.

“From local residents and regional MPs through to Premiers and Prime Ministers, the contribution and care shown to the region has been extraordinary.

“G21 is now regarded as one of Australia’s most attractive and liveable regions. Its economic value to Victoria and Australia is growing year-on-year.

“While our collective efforts are bearing fruit, we must now grapple with a population growing at 2.6 per cent or more a year, outstripping all expectations.

“Post-COVID, we must lock in our gains and prepare for more turbo-charged growth over the next 5 to 10 years.”

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