THE State Budget will be handed down next week, and councils and business organisations in the Geelong region have a clear idea of what they want from it.
Recently re-elected City of Greater Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher said the Northern Bellarine swimming pool in Drysdale and the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub in Norlane continued to be top funding priorities for the region.
“Community infrastructure projects are more important than ever now given the significant contribution they make to Greater Geelong’s financial and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The council recently approved $800,000 to complete the final stage of design for the Norlane facility, which will progress the plans to ‘shovel ready’ stage.
“We are also preparing for the detailed design of the Bellarine pool to be completed as early as possible in 2021.
“Action on both of these projects from City of Greater Geelong will hopefully help convince the Victorian Government to make a major contribution of its own through this year’s state budget.”
She said the new council was yet to formally decide its advocacy priorities, but there was a strong desire for major projects including a regional soccer stadium, basketball stadium and infrastructure for the Spirit of Tasmania ferry ahead of its arrival in 2022.
The state government has already made some announcements ahead of handing down the budget on Tuesday, November 24, including free kinder, $870 million for more mental health programs, and a plan for the Southern Hemisphere’s largest battery, to be built near Geelong.
Five of the Geelong region’s biggest peak bodies are continuing to collectively call for specific projects and initiatives to be included in the budget.
G21, the Committee for Geelong, the Geelong Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine and the Geelong Manufacturing Council released the 13-item list in late September.
It includes infrastructure, visitor economy product and much-needed community facilities, plus support packages for business, manufacturing and Deakin University.
G21 chief executive office Elaine Carbines said some items had been ticked off since the peak bodies released the list, including funding for Stage 5 at GMHBA Stadium, but many more remained.
“Both the state and federal governments are keen to stimulate the economy, so we’re optimistic at this stage at some of our funding requests in the state budget.”
She said these requests included $15 million upgrades to the road network servicing GeelongPort to cater for the increased volume of vehicles using the Spirit of Tasmania terminal, $20 million for the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub, and expediting all projects associated with the Geelong City Deal.