G21’s big asks for Geelong projects
WHILE the date of the next Federal election is not yet set, but G21 has updated it’s list of priorities and is pitching them in Canberra.
Released last week, the Priority Projects 2021-22 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 region include a new railway station at Avalon Airport on the Geelong-Melbourne line and the inclusion of this project in the Geelong Fast Rail Study.
There’s also an update on the business case for the Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre and a timeline on the project which has received $171 million in funding so far, plus a commitment for more funding for construction.
In the arts and culture space the expansion of Geelong Gallery into Geelong City Hall is seeking a further $90 million, while $14.3 million is wanted for stage 3 of the Geelong Arts Centre.
Out on the water $28.75 million is wanted to complete stage 2 of the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct Project and $15 million is being sought for works on relocating the Spirit of Tasmania ferry terminal.
Down the highway $15 million is wanted for stage 1 of the You Yangs Precinct Master Plan, what would see improvements to visitor and education facilities.
G21 chief executive officer Giulia Baggio said the leading advocacy group’s priority projects had been refreshed following six months of consultation and 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,” Ms Baggio said.
Representatives of G21 sought to hold meetings in Canberra last week with senior government and shadow ministers.
The mayors of Geelong, Golden Plains, Queenscliffe, Surf Coast and Colac Otway represented the region alongside Ms Baggio, as will GeelongPort chief executive officer Brett Winter.
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,” Ms Baggio said.
“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 five to 10 years.”