City Deal missing from Federal Budget
G21 is disappointed that last night’s Federal Budget failed to set aside funds for a future City Deal for Geelong and the Great Ocean Road and will take the matter up in Canberra.
“After the build-up by the Prime Minister and his government about the importance of a future City Deal for Geelong and the Great Ocean Road, it was odd that no funds appear to have been set aside in last night’s Budget,” G21 CEO Elaine Carbines said.
“City Deals are a Turnbull Government concept and initiative, after all.
“It is true that a City Deal is yet to be fully finalised, however it’s expected that a deal will be locked down soon.
“As a show of good faith the Federal Government was expected to set aside funds in the Budget for future years; as the State Government did last week by allocating $153 million in its Budget.
“We fear that much needed infrastructure across the region, such as a Geelong Convention Centre and tourism upgrades on the Great Ocean Road, will be delayed by years, or placed in jeopardy, due to last night’s omission.
“The G21 Board’s delegation to Canberra later this month, where members will meet with ministers and shadow ministers, now takes on much greater significance.
“Both the Coalition and Labor should commit to fund a City Deal, regardless of the outcome of the next election. G21 will be seeking firm commitments.”
G21 welcomes $20 million towards facilities at Avalon Airport and an additional $50 million towards the proposed duplication of the rail between Geelong and Waurn Ponds stations.
“The government delivered on its earlier commitment to provide $20 million towards terminal facilities at Avalon Airport, to provide for international flights which are due to begin later this year,” Ms Carbines said.
“The economic benefits to our region of international flights through Avalon can’t be overstated. G21 has advocated strongly for Avalon and thanks the government for its recognition of the airport’s international potential.
“An additional $50 million towards the proposed duplication of the rail between Geelong and Waurn Ponds stations was also welcome. This is in addition to the previously announced $100 million for planning works.
“The duplication is an essential prerequisite to increasing services through Geelong and on to Colac and Warrnambool. The work is also an essential part of the solving the Melbourne-Geelong commuter service mess, which is an increasing problem as the region rapidly grows.
“Surprisingly, there were no funds for the duplication of the rail line in last week’s State Budget. G21 calls on the State Government to ‘come to the party’. We will be seeking firm commitments from the State Government and Opposition in the lead up to November’s state election.
“G21 welcomes continuation of funding for the Building Better Region’s Fund. A number of important projects within this region have benefited in the past from that fund.
“We also note the introduction of a $45 million regional tourism infrastructure fund which, potentially, could assist projects in this region. Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson has championed establishment of that fund.
“The Federal Budget provided little in the way of new project-specific funding for our region. This is disappointing given the number of regional priority projects ready and deserving of funding.
“As we are potentially just months from a federal election, we look to the Government and the Opposition to clearly state in the near future their financial commitment to the region’s specific priorities.
“This includes committing to match the State in allocating funding for a City Deal.”