Avalon Airport opens to general aviation

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Aviation Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips has today announced that Avalon Airport will open to general aviation, in a big win for the Geelong region.With Avalon Airport’s strong domestic airline operation and plans to establish an international terminal, the addition of general aviation positions the airport as one of Australia’s premier aviation hubs.“The closure of the Geelong Airport at Grovedale has driven a need to find a new home for commercial and private aviation in the region,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.“Avalon can now attract and service the general aviation market and offer an accessible alternative for recreational users.“Private and commercial flight training, charter and emergency services will be able to use the airport.”Mr Rich-Phillips said Avalon Airport also played an important role in bringing tourists to the region and acting as a gateway to the Geelong region and the Great Ocean Rd.“The decision to open to general aviation reinforces Avalon’s position as a hub for tourism and as a destination for the aviation community.”Mr Rich-Phillips said the Coalition Government had spent $150,000 on a feasibility study to investigate alternatives to Geelong Airport, and provide options for the local aviation community.“Avalon Airport’s master plan is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will set out the vision and future development of the airport over the next 20 years,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.Avalon Airport CEO Justin Giddings welcomed the arrangement, saying that the addition of general aviation would complement plans underway to grow domestic and international services.“We have the size and the flexibility to be able to accommodate general aviation as well as domestic and international operations,” Mr Giddings said.“This announcement is another demonstration of what a great asset Avalon Airport is for the Geelong region and for Victoria more broadly,” Mr Giddings said.To accommodate the additional activity, Avalon Airport has developed a system whereby general aviation will be encouraged to operate during “Circuit Training Periods” – times when airlines are not scheduled to fly.These Circuit Training Periods will ensure general aviation traffic will not impact on the airline traffic.Aircraft operators can choose to base their aircraft at Avalon Airport, or simply use Avalon Airport as required. Discounts on aeronautical charges will apply to operations within the Circuit Training Period.The Avalon Airport website contains information regarding Circuit Training Periods and aeronautical charges, Conditions of Use and the application form to base aircraft at Avalon Airport. www.avalonairport.com.au

Golden Plains 'App' wins national award

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Federal Minister for Local Government Simon Crean yesterday (19 April 2012) announced that Golden Plains Shire Council had won the 2012 National Award for Local Government in Innovative Infrastructure (Small Council). Minister Crean congratulated Golden Plains Shire Council on their success. “The Visit Golden Plains Tourism App was one of the many outstanding entries in this year’s award and it demonstrates the creative and innovative work being undertaken at Golden Plains Shire Council,” said Minister Crean. Golden Plains Shire Mayor Geraldine Frantz was thrilled that Council’s digital tourism infrastructure had received such prestigious recognition in a competitive field of 49 entries. “Council decided to invest in digital technology to promote Golden Plains as a prominent regional tourist destination and this award endorses our creative approach to economic development,” said Cr Frantz. This project achieves many of Council’s economic development objectives by enhancing our local sense of identity and pride, supporting the tourism industry and creating local jobs, all of which contribute to the quality of life in Golden Plains. “I extend my congratulations to Council’s Executive Unit and recognise their professionalism, resourcefulness and teamwork to achieve this significant win,” said Cr Frantz. The Golden Plains app is available for Android, iPhone and iPad technology and is free to download online at visitgoldenplains.com.au “This project is an excellent example of local government embracing modern technology to invest in innovative economic development infrastructure,”concluded Cr Frantz. Council is now in contention for the National Local Government Award for Excellence and will present before the judging panel in Canberra in early May.

Funding boost for Portarlington Celtic Festival

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Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher today (20 April 2012) announced $52,500 in Victorian Coalition Government funding for the 2012 National Celtic Festival based in Portarlington. Held on the Bellarine Peninsula over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June, the National Celtic Festival is a celebration of Celtic culture and combines arts and cultural activities with local heritage experiences. “Now in its tenth year on the Peninsula, this event continues to grow and has cultivated a strong national profile as a celebration of Victoria’s proud Celtic connection,” Ms Asher said. “Funding from the Tourism Victoria’s Events Program will be used to promote the event in Melbourne and interstate markets, and funding from Regional Development Victoria’s Putting Locals First Program will support the event’s economic and potential job creation impacts.” The event celebrates the Celtic culture that spread its unique civilization across the seven Celtic lands of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Galicia and Asturias, and highlights Victoria’s rich multicultural history. Last year’s festival attracted an estimated 16,000 people with approximately 80 per cent of visitors from outside the immediate region. Since 2009, ticket revenue has increased by more than 30 per cent and with most visitors staying for three nights, the event generates positive economic outcomes for the local community. “The Coalition Government is committed to supporting regional tourism events that deliver economic, social and cultural benefits to local communities,” Ms Asher said. Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos said the event provides a real boost for local tourism businesses throughout Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula over a busy long weekend period. “Some of the world’s finest Celtic talent will entertain and delight visitors at this milestone event which has grown into the largest celebration of Celtic music and culture in the southern hemisphere,” Mr Katos said. “This year’s program includes a diverse range of concerts, workshops, roving performances and a Celtic market across a variety of venues throughout the township all within easy walking distance. “I encourage all Victorians and interstate visitors to consider attending this wonderful event and travel throughout the Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula region over the course of the June long weekend.” The National Celtic Festival will be held in Portarlington over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend from 8 to 11 June 2012. For more information on the festival click here.

G21 Stakeholder Forum a sell-out

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Demand by people wanting to attend the G21 - Geelong Region Alliance Stakeholder Forum tomorrow (13 April) has exceeded all expectations, G21 Chair Cr John Mitchell said today.“There’s been so much interest we’ve had to close off bookings. We can’t fit anyone else in the venue,” Cr Mitchell said.“The strength of our key note speakers and interest in G21’s work on behalf of the region has been a strong combination. We have attracted a broad mix of business and civic leaders to the forum.“Key speakers include the Federal Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean, leading business columnist Terry McCrann, State Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria, Damian Drum and Geelong Advertiser editor Nick Papps,” Cr Mitchell said.The forum will run from 12 noon until 4.30pm, Friday 13 April at the Sheraton Hotel, Eastern Beach, Geelong.

Draft G21 Economic Development Strategy released

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The draft G21 Economic Development Strategy developed by the G21 - Geelong Region Alliance has been released for community feedback (beginning 3 April 2012). “The strategy is being developed to guide the growth of the regional economy and support general growth planning across the G21 region for the next decade,” G21 CEO Elaine Carbines said today. “It has been developed through targeted consultation with peak industry groups, the five Councils, major education providers and other agencies across the region. “A review of the economic profile of the G21 region, and a significant body of existing economic development work, were all part of the development process. “This is a best-practice approach incorporating recommendations and work by a specialist consultant, the AEC Group. The result is a comprehensive set of recommendations set out in the draft strategy.” Ms Carbines said there were five “game changer” recommendations in the strategy which, taken together, were considered the most effective first-step to increase the economic potential of the G21 region: • completion of the Ring Road, with Surf Coast, Bellarine Peninsula, Bannockburn and Colac connections• Geelong City Centre revitalisation• coordinated delivery of critical infrastructure to support growth• globally significant innovation and research centre• G21 Region is Open for Business, with a proactive and supportive culture to grow existing business and to attract new business to the region. Ms Carbines said the strategy included a toolbox for attracting investment, encouraging innovation, skilling individuals, changing the perception of the region, and securing funds for the future. The toolbox is designed to assist economic development practitioners across the region. “Prior to adoption of a final strategy by the G21 - Region Alliance, public input is being sought in a coordinated manner with the G21 Regional Growth Plan consultation process, which also begins this week,” Ms Carbines said. Open House events will be held across the region during the engagement period (3 April – 18 May) where G21 Economic Development Strategy Working Group members will be available to discuss the draft plan and gather feedback. People are invited to attend one of the Open Houses to find out more and speak with a member of the project team: • Colac - 19 April, 3.00pm – 7.00pmColac Otways Performing Arts & Cultural Centre, 2-6 Rae Street • Torquay - 21 April, 10.00am – 2.00pmTorquay Improvement Association Hall, 12 Price Street • Bannockburn - 27 April, 3.00pm – 7.00pmBannockburn Football Club, Victoria Park • Geelong - 28 April, 10.00am – 2.00pmMarket Square • Lara - 3 May, 3.00pm – 7.00pm Lara Community Centre, 9-11 Waverley Road • Queenscliff - 9 May, 5.00pm – 7.00pm Borough of Queenscliffe Offices, Learmonth Street The draft plan and full details can be viewed by clicking here. Feedback on the plan can be made in person at an Open House, online or in writing to: Terry DemeoManager Planning Strategy & Economic DevelopmentPO Box 104Geelong 3220 Summary brochures are available for download by clicking here, at the five G21 councils’ customer service centres, the G21 – Geelong Region Alliance office (199 Moorabool Street, Geelong) and at the Open Houses.

Draft G21 Regional Growth Plan blueprint released

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The draft G21 Regional Growth Plan released for public comment (beginning 3 April) is one of the most significant documents people of the region will need to consider for many years to come, G21 - Geelong Region Alliance CEO Elaine Carbines said today. “This is a blueprint for our region’s future for the next 40 years during which the population will potentially grow to 500,000 people, which is about 200,000 more than today. It’s about physically shaping key aspects of the region which we will ultimately hand over to our children,” Ms Carbines said. “With many more people going to be living, working and visiting in the region we have to plan carefully for a self-sustaining region that uses existing infrastructure and land more efficiently. “The draft plan identifies new areas of land for growth, likely to be required after 2030, and looks at what is needed by way of new housing, employment, services, public transport and roads to meet that growth. “Getting this correct is a weighty responsibility that we all should take seriously. “The draft plan has been developed after taking into account feedback from an extensive second-stage community engagement process across the G21 region last November and December. It also takes into account a raft of existing research, land use planning and infrastructure,” she said. The G21 Regional Growth Plan is one of eight being developed across Victoria. G21 is developing the plan on behalf of the region which includes the five municipalities: City of Greater Geelong; Colac Otway Shire; Golden Plains Shire; Surf Coast Shire; and the Borough of Queenscliffe. “Later this year the plan will be considered with a view to adoption by the five G21 Region municipalities and the State Government Minister for Planning. It will then become the G21 region’s official high-level growth planning blueprint,” Ms Carbines said. Key elements of the draft Regional Growth Plan are identified in a settlement and employment growth directions map and a major infrastructure directions map incorporated within the draft plan. Key elements of the draft growth plan include: • identifying two further investigation areas to the north and west of the Geelong Ring Road for potential development beyond 20 years from now• targeting infill and higher-density opportunities in existing urban areas such as central Geelong, West Fyans, Corio and Norlane• introducing longer-term additional growth within Colac and Winchelsea• reducing pressures on agricultural areas and natural assets• reinforcing central Geelong’s role as an active vibrant regional city and as Victoria’s second-largest city• supporting planned growth and identified district towns across the region. Special open house events will be held across the region during the engagement period (3 April – 18 May) where G21 Regional Growth Plan project team members will be present to discuss the draft plan and gather feedback. People are invited to attend one of the Open Houses to find out more and speak with a member of the project team: • Colac - 19 April, 3.00pm – 7.00pmColac Otways Performing Arts & Cultural Centre, 2-6 Rae Street • Torquay - 21 April, 10.00am – 2.00pmTorquay Improvement Association Hall, 12 Price Street • Bannockburn - 27 April, 3.00pm – 7.00pmBannockburn Football Club, Victoria Park • Geelong - 28 April, 10.00am – 2.00pmMarket Square • Lara - 3 May, 3.00pm – 7.00pm Lara Community Centre, 9-11 Waverley Road • Queenscliff - 9 May, 5.00pm – 7.00pmQueenscliffe Borough Offices, Learmonth Street The draft plan and full details can be viewed by clicking here. Feedback on the plan can be made in person at an Open House, online or in writing to: G21 Regional Growth Plan TeamPO Box 104Geelong 3220 Summary brochures are available for download on the G21 Regional Growth Plan website, at the G21 councils’ customer service centres, the G21 – Geelong Region Alliance office (199 Moorabool Street, Geelong) and at the Open Houses.

Geelong investment priorities on Government's radar

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Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan held talks with senior business leaders in Geelong today (21 March 2012) to discuss priority projects that will help shape the future of the region.Mr Ryan said the business leaders represented a wide cross section of the community including local government, manufacturing, higher education, agriculture, health and transport.G21 - Geelong Region Alliance was part of the talks with Deputy Premier Ryan.“I am always pleased to hear directly from key local business representatives about the needs and priorities for Geelong and the wider Surf Coast region,” Mr Ryan said.“There are a number of exciting ideas already in development and a number of innovative opportunities that will require ongoing discussion and planning.”Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government was working with communities like Geelong to manage the challenges arising from an uncertain global economic climate.“The Coalition took action to secure the automotive industry’s future by joining forces with the Commonwealth in a $103 million funding boost which will see Ford Falcon continue to be built in Geelong until at least 2016,” Mr Ryan said.“The government is also actively supporting the upgrade of Simonds Stadium, the Geelong Ring Road Employment Precinct and the Geelong Cultural Precinct project.”Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was committed to building and strengthening the economic base of regional and rural Victoria.“I congratulate the senior Geelong business leaders for their vision and leadership and their ongoing efforts to ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for the region,” Mr Ryan said.“The government constantly aims to create new opportunities, by building on skills and education, and the economic growth of our regions.” Click here to see the list of G21 - Geelong Region Alliance Priority Projects.

Victorian Premier opens redeveloped Courthouse in Arts Precinct

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Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu today flicked the switch to illuminate the Old Courthouse building as Geelong’s newest arts space. Mr Baillieu was joined by Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Development Peter Ryan to officially re-open the Old Courthouse, also marking the completion of the first stage in the development of a vibrant cultural precinct in Geelong. Mr Baillieu said the historic building had been through a number of incarnations in its 130 year history, but the latest transformation was the most exciting. “What was once a place of confrontation and incarceration is now a place of freedom and creative expression,” Mr Baillieu said. “While the former Courthouse has served as a youth arts centre since the late 1990s, this extensive refurbishment has given it a renewed energy. “The creativity of the new spaces is inspiring resident companies and the young people they work with.” Mr Baillieu said the Courthouse’s key tenants – Courthouse ARTS and Back to Back Theatre – made an energetic couple. “Courthouse ARTS is renowned for its innovative programming and provides great opportunities for young people in the region, from mentoring and training to performance and work experience. “Co-resident Back to Back Theatre is a company with a bold vision, a special voice and extraordinary creativity that has won plaudits worldwide, making it a Geelong-made international success story. “Both companies are committed to making a positive contribution to the local community and will ensure that the Old Courthouse becomes a powerful and vibrant creative hub, particularly for young and emerging artists in the region,” Mr Baillieu said. Mr Ryan said in addition to the refurbished Old Courthouse, the Coalition Government would contribute $15 million towards the construction of the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre. “The Coalition Government recognises the importance of the $45 million Geelong Library and Heritage Centre project to the local community and is pleased to contribute to its development through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund,” Mr Ryan said . “In addition to housing the library’s collections, the new multi-level centre will include an auditorium, community IT areas, meeting rooms, multimedia zones, heritage reading rooms, exhibition spaces and more.” Mr Ryan said the City of Geelong was in the final stages of appointing the project team to oversee the development. “Proposals received for the design services have also undergone a second round of evaluation and the preferred party is expected to be announced by council soon,” Mr Ryan said. “It truly is an exciting and ambitious project that will create up to 300 jobs during construction and leave Geelong with a world-class facility.” Mr Baillieu commended the City of Greater Geelong for its vision and commitment to the development of the Geelong Cultural Precinct. “Cities that invest in arts and culture, that put arts and culture in the centre of community life, reap great rewards. “These activities attract people and investment, they stimulate business and tourism, they boost the economy and they contribute to the liveability and social fabric of our communities,” Mr Baillieu said.

Prominent Victorians join the campaign to promote a move to regional Victoria

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Geelong AFL greats Cameron Ling and Billy Brownless will headline a list of high-profile Victorians who have been recruited to help entice Melburnians to make the move to regional Victoria. Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Victoria Peter Ryan joined forces with the former AFL champions at Geelong’s Simonds Stadium today (21 March, 2012) to announce the official ambassadors for Victoria’s first ever Regional Victoria Living Expo, which will be held from 27 – 29 April 2012. Mr Ryan said Mr Ling and Mr Brownless were ideal people to represent Geelong and regional Victoria as expo ambassadors. “Both Cameron and Billy are passionate advocates for regional Victoria and will be great ambassadors to help promote the expo and the many benefits of living in regional areas,” Mr Ryan said. “People like Cameron, Billy and all of our expo ambassadors are proof living in regional areas is no barrier to having a great career and lifestyle.” Mr Ryan said other expo ambassadors would include prominent Victorians who had achieved success in a range of fields from music to sport, the food industry and the media. Expo ambassadors include: Matt Dempsey – award-winning celebrity chef from Golden Plains Shire, owner of renowned restaurant Gladioli Evermore – three-time platinum selling pop trio from Macedon Ranges via New Zealand Athol Guy – Macedon Ranges resident, former member of The Seekers, Australia’s first band to achieve international success Rick Kelly – V8 Supercar driver, 2003-04 Bathurst 1000 champion, 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series winner, formerly of Mildura Todd Kelly – V8 Supercar driver and 2005 Bathurst 1000 champion, formerly of Mildura David Mann – 39-year veteran at 3AW, best known as ‘Mann About Town’ with his roving reporting on Victorian events, resident of Macedon Ranges Shire Denis Walter – 3AW Afternoons host, prolific recording artist and Geelong resident Dale Weightman – former Richmond AFL champion, dual best-and-fairest, captain, and 20 Big V appearances, formerly of Mildura Mr Ling said the free expo, which was the first of its kind, was a fantastic idea for anyone considering a move to regional Victoria to live and work or study. “Regional Victoria has given me great opportunities and those opportunities are available to anyone but you have to know where to look,” Mr Ling said. “The expo brings together all the councils and exhibitors under one roof at the Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre, making it easy to explore everything regional Victoria has to offer.” Mr Ryan said the 2012 Regional Victoria Living Expo would showcase career, education and business opportunities and housing and lifestyle benefits. “All visitors to the Expo will discover that Victoria’s regional and rural areas provide numerous advantages in livability, jobs, education and business viability that are at least the equal of those on offer in Melbourne,” Mr Ryan said. “The expo will give Melbourne residents and businesses all the information they need when considering relocating to regional and rural Victoria, including promotion of education, housing and career opportunities. “It will also provide all Victoria’s 48 regional and rural councils with an opportunity to promote the benefits and opportunities available in their areas so they can attract residents, skilled workers, business and investment.” The 2012 Regional Victoria Living Expo will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 27 – 29 April 2012. For more information please visit: http://www.rdv.vic.gov.au/expo

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