$120,000 grant to support young people in Geelong

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Minister for Employment Richard Dalla-Riva has asked the Member for South Barwon, Andrew Katos, to officially announce and present today a grant of $120,000 to Mentor Human Resources to place 15 disadvantaged young people into sustainable employment. Minister Dalla-Riva said the grant to Mentor’s Youth Employment Project would provide training assistance and identify sustainable employment for disadvantaged young people in the Neighbourhood and Community Renewal areas in Geelong. “Mentor has developed employment projects which provide pre-vocational training to prepare young people for employment,” Mr Katos said. “Young people are placed into work trial placements where they can continue to develop their skills. “The group also provides ongoing support such as mentoring to young people and ongoing support to the employers who form part of the program. “The Mentor team has more than 20 years’ knowledge and experience working within Geelong, Melbourne and throughout regional Victoria. “Mentor is a nationally accredited registered training organisation that offers businesses opportunities to employ apprentices and trainees with the flexibility required by industry,” Mr Katos said. Click here to visit the Mentor website

G21's response to relocating motor vehicle importing and exporting to the Port of Geelong

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G21 – The Geelong Region Alliance (G21) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Discussion Paper re the feasibility of relocating the motor vehicle importing and exporting to the Port of Geelong. Click here to view G21's response to the Discussion Paper

Have your say about the Avalon Airport Rail Link project

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The Department of Transport is seeking community input to help develop options for the Avalon Airport Rail Link project. Have your say about the project by joining the online discussion forum, attending a community workshop in Lara, or by contacting the project team - find out more about getting involved in this important project at the Department of Transport website. A rail link to Avalon Airport will: • provide a high standard public transport service for passengers • support the development of Avalon Airport • support the growth of economic and employment opportunities in the area. The State Government has committed $3 million over two years for planning and development of the project. The Avalon Airport Rail Link project is now in the planning stage, which involves a range of technical, economic and environmental investigations and discussions with the community and stakeholders. The study team will consider stakeholder and community input together with the findings of these investigations to develop options for a rail link to Avalon Airport.

Geelong to benefit from extra police

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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.”

Nature the best medicine for Geelong region: innovative trial to prescribe parks for better health

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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 & 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

Funding success for Library and Heritage Centre

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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

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