Geelong could learn a northern UK lesson

February 26, 2016 BY

THERE are lessons for Geelong to be learnt from the efforts to revitalise northern England, according to the British High Commissioner to Australia.

Menna Rawlings was the special guest at the Committee for Geelong’s (CfG) annual Leadership Breakfast, held at The Pier last Thursday.

“There’s a link, I think, between leadership and the growth of second cities like Geelong, because basically it all comes down to people,” she said.

potential and develop and grow, then we’re not their potential either.”

She said Geelong and the big cities in England’s north (such as Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester) faced similar challenges in moving the economy away from traditional manufacturing industries and into new sectors.

Leaders should use language to instil a sense of pride and passion, Ms Rawlings said – for example, the initiatives in northern England have been dubbed the “Northern Powerhouse”.

“Reading about Geelong and how it was called in ‘the pivot city’ in the 1860s make me feel there’s something positive about what Geelong’s doing now, as it pivots into the 21st century.”

She said the British government was focusing on the private sector as an instrument for growth, and promoting greater devolution and local power for city councils and mayors.

“We can use our cities for what David Cameron calls ‘incubators for enterprise’, creating jobs, improving lives and going for growth.

“We can learn from each other in this. What you’re doing in Geelong is fantastic and impressive, so let’s keep talking to each other about we can cities – as we go through the economic transitions.”

Ms Rawlings has been British High Commissioner to Australia since April 2015.

(FCO) in 1989, she has served in a wide range of diplomatic service roles.

She is the second successive high-level diplomat to speak at CfG’s Leadership Breakfast, following US Ambassador to Australia John Berry last year.

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