City Deal a G21 Board focus in Canberra
Meetings in Canberra this week (29 & 30 May) were among the most important G21 has had in recent years, aimed at ensuring the long-term prosperity of our region.
G21 board members talked with ministers, shadow ministers and key advisers about priorities for Geelong and the G21 region, including aspects of a potential City Deal.
“The meetings came at a crucial time,” G21 CEO Elaine Carbines said.
“A federal election must be held within the next 12 months and an historic City Deal funding package for Geelong and the Great Ocean Road is at an advanced stage of negotiation.
“We reminded our Canberra politicians that the State Government in its Budget earlier this month allocated $153.2 million over coming years in readiness to lock down a deal.
“While the Federal Government has yet to announce specific funding it has indicated its intention to make announcements over coming months.
“We sought through our meetings to ensure future federal announcements are informed, relevant to the region’s needs and funded. Obviously, we weren’t expecting firm commitments during our meetings.
“We had a really positive meeting with Urban Infrastructure and Cities Minister Paul Fletcher who is oversighting the City Deal discussions.
“G21 offered to host a visit to the region by the minister in the next few months to allow him to view proposed projects for a City Deal.
“A Geelong convention centre, facility upgrades for the Shipwreck Coast on the Great Ocean Road, innovative advanced manufacturing such as at Deakin University and revitalisation of central Geelong have all been flagged as potential City Deal investment projects.
“Discussions to date about the central themes for a City Deal have focused on enhancing the economic benefits to flow from visitors to our region, new-wave manufacturing opportunities and fostering communities of professional excellence.
“A City Deal would align three tiers of government investment to accelerate economic growth and job creation, stimulate infrastructure renewal and drive business opportunity.
“A meeting with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was also positive. His general knowledge of the region was impressive. He was particularly interested in hearing about City Deal projects, the GROW initiative and the Northern Arc project.
“We impressed on both the Government and the Opposition that firm commitments are needed to a number of projects from both sides in the lead-up to the election.
“Regardless of the outcome of the next election, Geelong and Great Ocean Road must have a City Deal to drive our economy to the next level.
“Expectations of gaining a City Deal have been raised. Let’s hope disappointment is not on the menu.”
In addition to a City Deal, G21 board members raised G21 Priority Projects for the region and a number of topical issues.
The waste recycling challenges for local governments, renewable energy, climate change and addressing disadvantage were discussed.
The full range of G21 priority projects can be viewed at: g21.com.au
Among others, the G21 board met with:
- Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister, Michael McCormack;
- Prime Minister Turnbull’s Chief of Staff, Peter Woolcott;
- Urban Infrastructure and Cities Minister, Paul Fletcher;
- Regional Development and Local Government Minister, John McVeigh;
- Environment and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg;
- Social Services Minister, Dan Tehan;
- Health Minister, Greg Hunt;
- Opposition Leader Bill Shorten;
- Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities & Regional Development and Shadow Minister for Tourism, Anthony Albanese;
- Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Local Government and Regional Communications, Stephen Jones;
- Shadow Minister for Families & Social Security, Jenny Macklin; and
- Shadow Minister for Climate Change & Energy, Mark Butler.
The G21 Board consists of 10 council-nominated members and five member-elected representatives. See G21’s current Board members here: g21.com.au
Photos: Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack (top) and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten meeting with the G21 Board members this week in Canberra.