The Victorian Coalition Government’s commitment to make Victoria safer is being realised with Victoria Police today announcing that 400 more frontline police will be allocated across the state by June 30 next year.
Acting Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan said Victoria Police would allocate 125 more police in Melbourne and regional and rural Victoria by the end of December 2011.
“The Coalition Government is delivering on its election commitment to recruit 1,700 more frontline police and today marks an important milestone in that process,” Mr Ryan said.
“From the end of October, the first of the new police officers will take up their posts serving growing communities and rural and regional centres across the state,” Mr Ryan said.
“The cities of Frankston, Brimbank, Melbourne, Hume, Moreland and Wyndham will receive a welcome boost in police numbers, while Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Shepparton, Latrobe, Mildura and other local communities will benefit from extra police. Families have every right to be safe and feel safe in their homes and on the street and the Coalition Government is ensuring Victoria Police is properly resourced to undertake necessary crime deterrence and preventative measures. Putting more police on the beat will boost community safety and serve as a visual reminder that crime, violence and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Mr Ryan said Victoria Police had already allocated 600 additional police across Victoria since November 2010, with 450 of those part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to deploy 1,700 officers above normal attrition to make Victoria safer.
“Our police work extremely hard keeping their communities safe and these additional officers will boost their efforts in targeting local crime issues and making our roads safer,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Coalition Government is also resourcing Victoria Police to recruit 940 Protective Services Officers by November 2014 to boost safety at train stations across Melbourne and major regional centres.”
The Geelong region will be the site for an innovative new health program which encourages people to head to the park for their health and wellbeing.
On Monday 19 September, Geelong’s Active in Parks program was launched by Hon Nick Wakeling MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Health. The program will see health professionals including doctors, maternal health nurses, and youth workers prescribing park visits to improve the health and wellbeing of their patients and clients. The program will also offer a range of free or low cost activities for the general community, which will be detailed on the program’s website www.activeinparks.org
The program’s architect, Dr Rob Grenfell, says the program is founded on the growing body of evidence that shows spending time in nature is vital for people’s health and wellbeing.
“We’ve spent the last hundred years disconnecting from the natural environment, and the result is a steady increase in lifestyle diseases and increasing social disconnection.”
“As both a general practitioner and a public health physician, I believe there is enormous potential for the natural environment to improve people’s health. There’s a tremendous opportunity for the health sector to use nature as part of a patient’s medical treatment – it’s much cheaper to prescribe a walk in the park than to build a new hospital,” Dr Grenfell said.
“This is an innovative program to help people from the Geelong region break down the barriers to getting out into our magnificent parklands.”
Dr Grenfell says the launch of the new program is timely, with new data showing around six out of ten Australian adults do not meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity .
“Regular physical activity is essential for good health. Being physically inactive increases the risk of a number of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and vascular disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and arthritis.”
“For many of us, the best prescription we can have is to take a step into a natural space like a park or the beach. This will not only benefit individual health, but potentially reduce the enormous cost of treating preventable diseases.”
Dr Grenfell said the Active in Parks program also aimed to improve mental health and develop stronger communities.
“There’s very strong evidence that shows being in a natural space like a park has significant benefits for mental health and wellbeing. A park or the beach is a perfect place for reflection, and really gives us the opportunity to stop and take a break from the many demands of our increasingly busy lifestyles,” he said.
CEO of G21, Elaine Carbines said she was delighted that the Geelong region has been chosen for this innovative trial.
“The evidence shows a visit to the park is good for the body and the soul, and Geelong has a fantastic network of parks, trails, beaches and rivers.”
Dr Grenfell said the program is not a ‘bootcamp’, but suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
“We’re challenging Geelong to get active this Spring – and hit Nature’s gym. There will be a wide range of activities suitable for people of all ages and abilities. We all know the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away – we hope to change that to ‘a park a day keeps the doctor away’.”
Medibank Community Fund is the major sponsor of Geelong’s active in Parks program. George Savvides, Managing Director of Medibank, said the sponsorship was a perfect fit for the Medibank Community Fund which aims to get people living longer in better health through exercise and healthy eating initiatives.
“By involving general practitioners, who play an important role in their local communities, and reaching-out through established community networks and leaders, this program has all the ingredients that are needed for generating significant changes in community health outcomes for the Geelong region,” he said.
General Practitioners Association of Geelong’s Medical Advisor Dr Jane Opie, said GPAG were excited by the potential of the program to use nature as the setting to enhance physical and emotional wellbeing. “Our hope would be for development of a sustainable range of activities across the region,” Dr Opie said.
Geelong’s Active in Parks is a joint pilot program of Parks Victoria, People &amp; Parks Foundation and G21 - Geelong Regional Alliance. The program is supported by the Geelong region’s five municipalities, City of Greater Geelong, Colac Otway Shire, Borough of Queenscliffe, Surf Coast Shire and Golden Plains Shire.
Geelong’s Active in Parks Principal Partners include Parks Victoria, People and Parks Foundation, G21 - Geelong Regional Alliance, the Department of Health and the Department of Planning and Community Development.
Supporting partners include the General Practitioners Association of Geelong (GPAG), Deakin University, Barwon Health, Diversitat, Pathways, Headspace, Bellarine Community Health, Leisure Networks and the Heart Foundation.
For more information and details of activities visit www.activeinparks.org
Elaine Carbines has welcomed the Federal Government's funding commitments towards two of the G21 Priority Projects through its Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF).
The Geelong Library and Heritage Centre has received $10 million towards its redevelopment, while Skilled Stadium has also received $10 million towards its Stage 3 redevelopment.
This is a very exciting announcement for the Geelong region. The development of the Geelong Future Cities project was G21's, and the Regional Development Australia - Barwon South West Region Committee's number one priority for the Geelong region.
“The development of the Geelong Future Cities Project strengthens the livability of our region and kick-starts the transformation of the Geelong CBD, with the revitalisation of the Ryrie Street entrance to GPAC and ultimately the transformation of Little Malop Street,” said Elaine Carbines CEO of G21.
Residents of the city of Geelong in Victoria will soon have greater access to historical, cultural and artistic resources with $10 million federal government funding towards the construction of the $45 million Geelong Library and Heritage Centre.
Federal Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean today announced that funding will be provided to the City of Greater Geelong as part of the first round of the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF), worth almost $1 billion.
“The newly designed facility of 7,000 square metres over six levels will provide a range of facilities including community reading areas, child, youth discovery and multimedia zones, community IT areas, library collections, community meeting rooms, and an auditorium,” Mr Crean said.
“It will also strengthen access to information and learning for a projected population of 500,000 by 2059.”
Member for Corio Richard Marles said it was a great project that will not only benefit the local community, but the surrounding regional areas as well.
“The new library will strengthen the existing network of libraries across the region by sharing the print and multimedia collections across five local government areas and 16 static libraries,” Mr Marles said.
“The population of the Geelong is growing quickly. The new library will contribute to the region’s social and economic wellbeing by improving access to information and learning facilities and enhancing knowledge of the local cultural heritage.”
Member for Corangamite Darren Cheeseman said libraries were fantastic community resources.
“They are free for people of all ages to use whether they are coming in to read a newspaper or accessing the Internet for a school or university assignment – which is why this is such an important project,” he said.
“It will become the community and civic anchor of the Geelong Cultural Precinct by providing access to career resources, create an informed community, focus on cultural and artistic development and provide free and universal access to IT infrastructure, digital literacy and technological resources.”
The project will create an additional 299 positions during construction and 17 fulltime positions on completion in December 2014.
It is expected to generate $7.46 in economic benefit for every $4.23 invested.
The project is aligned with Regional Development Australia (RDA) Barwon South.
The RDAF program supports the infrastructure needs and economic growth of Australia’s regions. It is designed to leverage state, commonwealth, local government, private and not-for-profit investments.
In Round One, $150 million in grant funding has been provided to 35 projects around Australia leveraging a total of around $418 million in project costs.
RDA committees played a major role in working with local communities to identify projects that were consistent with their regional plans.
The Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel, Mr Christian Zahra, will assist with a review of RDAF Round One and provide recommendations to the Minister to consider implementing for Round Two and subsequent rounds of the program.
This review will consider ways in which the impact of the program might be strengthened and the application process streamlined.
Round Two of the RDAF program will be valued at $150 million, with applications to open in November this year.
Click here to view the G21 Geelong Future Cities Priority Project Description
Minister for Ports and Regional Cities Denis Napthine has hailed a 34 per cent increase in throughput at the Port of Geelong as a welcome boost for both the port and for the Barwon community.
Dr Napthine said the Victorian Regional Channels Authority (VCRA) annual report, which was tabled in Parliament last night, revealed that the total throughput at the Port of Geelong leaped from 10.6 million tons in 2009/10 to 14.2 million tons in 2010/11.
“This is a fantastic result for the port and for the people of Geelong,” Dr Napthine said.
“The Port of Geelong is Victoria’s second largest commercial port.
According to a 2010 economic impact report, Economic Impact of the Port of Geelong, the port creates more than 1,100 local jobs and adds about $310 million to the local economy every year.
“Along with the 34 per cent increase in throughput, the Port of Geelong also recorded 508 ship visits, 73 more than the previous year.
“With the economic impact report indicating every ship visit is worth 2.3 full time jobs, the latest increase in port activity will have an extremely positive impact on employment and wealth in the Geelong community,” Dr Napthine said.
While the drought-breaking grain harvest saw grain exports increase by more than 400 per cent, other main cargos handled at the Port of Geelong also contributed to the bumper year.
The VCRA annual report shows that bulk liquid imports and exports including petroleum products, crude oil, sulphuric acid and bitumen were up by 13 per cent and fertiliser throughput also rose by 75 per cent.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is keen to see further growth and development at the Port of Geelong,” Dr Napthine said.
“We understand the benefits the port delivers to the Geelong community and we also recognise its potential to provide even more jobs and more wealth for the Barwon region.
“I recently launched a discussion paper exploring the option of relocating the roll-on roll-off car trade from Webb Dock in Melbourne to the Port of Geelong and we are now busy collecting submissions in response to this paper.”
The Victorian Government will consider the results of the full feasibility study in early 2012.
Click here to visit the Geelong Port website
Click here to view the Geelong Ring Road Connections to the Bellarine Peninsula and Geelong Port project description
Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced today that the Victorian Coalition Government had started work to examine the long term feasibility of returning passenger trains between Victoria’s second, third and fourth largest cities, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo (via Meredith, Maryborough and Castlemaine).
Mr Mulder said the study was being carried out with part of $2 million of funding provided in the May 2011 State Budget, with contracts now awarded to a number of specialist consultants.
“This two year study is a key step in linking Geelong, Ballarat, Maryborough, Castlemaine and Bendigo by train. It is part of the Government’s plan to provide improved travel options for 400,000 residents in the Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo areas,” Mr Mulder said.
The consultants will examine existing and future passenger rail infrastructure including stations, passing loops and signalling, and local residents’ views will be important.
Mr Mulder said the Department of Transport would work closely with local councils as part of the study to identify key challenges and priorities for communities in the region.
“Victoria’s rural population will continue to grow. It is important that the study considers possible future development or changes to transport along the corridor,” Mr Mulder said.
The extensive investigations will examine the feasibility of upgrading the rail line between Geelong and Ballarat and Castlemaine and Bendigo for regular passenger trains, and reopening the line between Maryborough and Castlemaine.
The study will also examine the feasibility of reopening disused railway stations along the lines including Bannockburn, Lethbridge, Meredith, Lal Lal, Carisbrook and Newstead. As part of separate works, the Coalition Government has already committed to reopening Clunes and Talbot stations.
“The study includes railway station inspections, cultural, heritage and environmental investigations, infrastructure assessments and public transport planning,” Mr Mulder said.
For further information visit www.transport.vic.gov.au/railrevival or call 1300 130 176.
Planning approval has been given to Australian retail chain Cotton On to consolidate its global headquarters in Geelong, Planning Minister Matthew Guy announced today.
“I have approved the expansion of the head office building to enable this local retail success story to continue to call Geelong home. This will be a $6 million investment by Cotton On and will lead to the creation of up to 200 extra jobs,” Mr Guy said.
“This is a great result for the City of Geelong and will enable Cotton On to expand its operations, create hundreds more local jobs and will ensure its business operations remain in Geelong.”
The planning scheme amendment allows Cotton On to convert an existing warehouse into additional office space with indoor car parking at 14 Shepherd Court, North Geelong.
Cotton On was established in Geelong in 1991 and has rapidly expanded its retail presence with 700 stores across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Germany, South Africa and the United States.
Click here to visit the Cotton On website
The Coalition Government has launched grants of up to $250,000 for local councils to fund major projects to prevent crime and make their communities safer.
Member for South Barwon, Andrew Katos, MP today encouraged councils in the Geelong and Surf Coast region to apply for Public Safety Infrastructure Fund grants.
“This new grants program is part of the Coalition Government’s $39 million commitment to community crime prevention and will help councils improve security and community safety,” Mr Katos said. “The Government recognises that local councils are best placed to develop strategies for addressing local crime problems and these grants will support them to do so.”
Mr Katos said that the grants of up to $250,000 would support councils in developing a variety of public safety infrastructure, including:
• Closed-circuit television systems • Vandal-resistant external lighting systems • Security grade doors • Perimeter fencing • Bollards • Window treatments and screens • Alarms for community assets and facilities “Streetscape and amenity improvements in public spaces designed to minimise the risks of crime and support safe behaviour, for example by encouraging mixed-use of open spaces, or enhancing natural surveillance, will also be part of the funding,” Mr Katos said.
He said the grants were part of the Coalition Government’s broader $39 million community crime prevention agenda which includes Community Safety Fund and graffiti removal grants to support local councils and community groups.
“Action on community safety and crime prevention is a high priority for the Coalition Government and this initiative will help to make communities safer across Victoria.
“Local communities can actively contribute to crime prevention through identifying local crime problems, providing potential solutions and promoting local involvement.
“Community action can achieve practical and positive outcomes and the Coalition Government is committed to supporting Victorian communities to achieve community-based crime prevention solutions.”
On Friday 26 August, G21 released its e-News looking at the Geelong: Cruise Ship destination project, and its recent funding success.
The e-News was sent to around 9,000 subscribers across the Geelong region and Australia-wide.
Click here to view the e-News outlining the Geelong: Cruise Ship destination project
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