Port of Geelong records massive increase in trade

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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

Rail Revival Study: Geelong – Ballarat – Bendigo investigations underway

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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.

Geelong jobs created as global retail chain expands its headquarters

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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

$250,000 grants program for public safety infrastructure in the Geelong region

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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.”

G21 e-News on the funding success for Cruise Ship destination project

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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 Have you subscribed to our e-News? If not, click here to do so.

Innovative $50,000 IT Competition set to be ‘bigger and better’ in 2011

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An innovative competition hosted by ICT Geelong, the region’s Information and Communications Technology cluster, is offering more than $50,000 in prizes to talented entrepreneurs across the nation. After the success of the inaugural IT Invention Test in 2010, the competition already stands as one of Australia’s leading IT competitions aimed at helping innovators and entrepreneurs to commercialise ideas, concepts and early stage projects. “Advancing IT innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialisation is a key element of ICT Geelong’s Charter,” said ICT Geelong’s Chairman, Robert Reed. “With such a great response to last year’s event, we thought why not do it again in 2011 - but make it bigger and better! We were keen to provide better investment pitching education to prospective entrants, get greater involvement from the investor community, and provide a mentoring program that will help the best entrants succeed with their ventures. It’s great to have Melbourne Angels on board as a key sponsor to help us deliver on some of these improvements.” Melbourne Angels is a group of business professionals and entrepreneurs who invest in early-stage business opportunities. “They will provide some valuable, practical education to the competition candidates on investment pitching as well as a harder edge to our judging process. We see that as the competition grows that it will provide deal flow for the investor community, as well as providing the entrepreneurs with a channel to access funding and business skills to advance their project.” continues Mr. Reed. This year’s prizes include; $10,000 cash for the winner. 3 x 1-week Entrepreneurship Courses to the University of California (Berkeley). $5,000 cash for the best IT-based sports technology. 1-day Technology Entrepreneurship Boot-Camp for the 10 best entries. 12 months mentoring for the 3 best entries. A potential opportunity to pitch to an Angel Investor group. Free entry to the Technology Entrepreneurship Forum in Geelong on 28th October for all entrants. “We have a great proposition for entrepreneurs out there. We want to give them every chance of successfully commercialising their project, and we think a key part of this is education and access to the right people. A trip to Berkeley is a once-in-a lifetime experience, and the Technology Entrepreneurship Boot-Camp will offer entrants the chance to work one-on-one with leading entrepreneurs such as Jerry Engel – the Founder of the Centre of Entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley .” continues Mr Reed. The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and the CSIRO Partnership have also jumped on board as sponsors of this year’s competition. They are offering a $5,000 cash prize to the best IT-based sports technology submission. “We are particularly interested in projects that have relevance to athletes and their coaches going into a major event such as the London 2012 Olympics.” states Dr Ian Blanchonette, Leader of the Advancing Human Performance Team of the AIS – CSIRO Partnership. ”The application of IT in human performance continues to grow. We were keen to gauge what ideas people have out there so it will be really interesting to see what entries we receive in this space.” “It is fantastic to receive the continuing sponsorship from Deakin University, the City of Greater Geelong and Berkeley. It really shows how education, government and private enterprise can collaborate to achieve outstanding outcomes for an industry sector and region.” concludes Mr Reed. ICT Geelong hopes to attract entries from right across Australia. Information sessions will be held in Melbourne, Geelong and Ballarat in August, with finalists presenting their ideas to an expert judging panel as part of the Technology Entrepreneurship Forum in Geelong on Friday 28th October. For further information on The $50,000 IT Invention Test go to www.itinventiontest.com.au. Entries close at 5:00pm on Friday 9th September 2011.

Award nominations open for volunteers in the Geelong region

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Do you know someone who is a tireless volunteer? Do they deserve recognition for their work? Are they the Volunteer of the Year? The Rotary Club of Highton Kardinia Volunteer of the Year award honours anyone who volunteers their time in the service of our community, community organisations, sports club or charity.Nominations are open in three categories:Volunteer of the YearYoung Volunteer of the YearHealthcare Volunteer of the YearEach of the three Awards has been sponsored to the value of $1,000. Click here to find out more about the Volunteer of the Year award Click here to view the Volunteer of the Year nomination form

$20 million win for regional students

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Regional students will enjoy easier access to higher education opportunities under a new $20 million fund announced today in Ballarat by Acting Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan and Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall. Mr Hall said the $20 million Regional Partnerships Facilitation Fund would increase alliances between universities and Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers in regional Victoria. “This initiative aims to increase alliances between TAFE institutes and universities to deliver a greater range of higher education programs in regional centres, giving more students the option to study in their hometown,” Mr Hall said. “In particular, this program aims to increase the number of TAFE campuses providing degree-level courses to build a better future for regional students and help boost higher education participation rates across the state. “It will also encourage greater use of existing infrastructure and resources between institutions in regional Victoria.” Mr Hall said the establishment of the fund was a key recommendation of a 2009 report advising on the development of the Victorian Tertiary Education Plan. “The report found the lack of access to higher education was exacerbating the trend of young regional Victorians leaving their communities to access education,” Mr Hall said. Mr Ryan said there was a significant difference in the number of regional students enrolling in university following year 12 compared with metropolitan students. “30.5 per cent of regional students completing year 12 enrol in university the following year, compared with 50.7 per cent of metropolitan students,” Mr Ryan said. “The Coalition Government is determined to break down the barriers to higher education that regional students experience and this fund is an important step in facilitating that.” Mr Hall said funding for the Regional Partnerships Facilitation Fund would be provided through the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

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