Geelong dual track venue a greyhound first

<p>Minister for Racing Denis Napthine will tonight officially open Geelong’s new greyhound racing facility the Beckley Centre, which features a world first dual-track. </p><p>The $8.2 million project has been a partnership between the Victorian Government and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) with the government providing $4.3 milllion. </p><p>“The redevelopment of Beckley Park is another significant step forward for greyhound racing in Geelong and Victoria,” Dr Napthine said. </p><p>“This new Geelong facility is a world first, with two different styled tracks which will offer all greyhounds the opportunity to perform at their very best. </p><p>“Greyhound racing is an exciting sport and it is a vital and growing part of the Victorian racing industry and the economy of our great State. </p><p>“Geelong is a major centre for the greyhound industry, with more than 3,000 registered trainers, breeders and industry specialists in the region. </p><p>“The inner track has been named after legendary locally-based trainer Graeme Bate, who was inducted into the GRV Hall of Fame for his unrivalled success as a trainer for over 40 years. He is known for his unique and innovative training methods and it is fitting that the new inner track is named in his honour for its blend of innovation and style. </p><p>“I congratulate the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club and Greyhound Racing Victoria for having the vision to take on and successfully deliver such an ambitious project,” Dr Napthine said. </p><p>GRV Chairman Nick Caley said his organisation proudly celebrated the completion of Beckley Park and he thanked the Victorian Government and the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club for their support. </p><p>“This development of the facility has come about by the dedication and hard work of many club stalwarts and distinguished leaders, so much so that Geelong might now be considered the epicentre of greyhound racing in the world.</p><p><br />“The Geelong GRC now boasts a world class racing facility, which comprises a fully air conditioned ground floor kennel block, a grandstand/convention centre which will comfortably accommodate some 300 patrons, and a unique dual track set up.\ </p><p>President of Geelong Greyhound Racing Club Maurie Blair said the opening of the Beckley Centre was the culmination of years of planning and development around the original concept of a track within a track. </p><p>“Good things are the result of good ideas, good forward planning and great management. The Geelong GRC has experienced all of these elements from the new facility’s designers, engineers and local trainers, resulting in a world class facility,” Mr Blair said. </p><p>The outer track, with its wide sweeping turns, is suited to sprinters that want to jump and run from its 400 and 460 metre starts. By having only the one turn to negotiate, all dogs will have  a great chance from box 1 to box 8, with the 680 metre start providing a fantastic test of endurance over the longer journey. </p><p>The Bate Track, with its two challenging distances of 520 and 596 metres, gives greyhounds that enjoy running around bends the opportunity to display their all-round chasing ability. The wide turns and straights will provide a worthy challenge for all greyhounds. </p><p>The new grandstand will increase the dining capacity from 100 to as many as 300 patrons and will provide a venue for special occasions, while the business community will have access to new conference and seminar facilities. </p><p>The modern facility also includes extensive features to make it more energy efficient and able to recapture and recycle water, which will contribute to savings in operational costs. </p>

History now just a click away at Geelong Heritage Centre

Visitors to the Geelong Heritage Centre can now use the services of an online image library, which was opened today by Minister for Regional Cities Denis Napthine. “The Geelong Heritage Centre is Victoria’s largest regional archive and already holds a unique collection of public and private records,” Dr Napthine said. “With the development of the Geelong Heritage Centre Online Image Library, many will now be able to connect with the past, discover their ancestry and access the recorded history of their regional towns and cities. “Communities are increasingly searching for their heritage and seeking to determine why their lives have been shaped in a certain way. The information at the centre gives access to a wide range of materials that help to fulfil these investigations.” Dr Napthine said the new library consisted of photographs, slides, cinema advertisements, paintings, plan drawings, real estate notices, parish maps and other artefacts, which will entice many historic enthusiasts to visit the Reading Room. “As a website, the Online Image Library is available to anyone, anywhere in the world, giving access to public records and images of historic interest. It also brings additional insight for tourists visiting the region,” Dr Napthine said. “Anyone researching the region’s history will not only appreciate the visual side to the area, but will also gain a greater understanding of why we cherish such locations as Eastern Beach, Barwon Heads, Lorne and, of course, the Great Ocean Road. “Research has shown that access to online material often inspires people to visit the actual item. The new Online Image Library will give many people the chance to view such points of interest and follow up by visiting specific regional locations. “This initiative is just one way the Coalition Government is showing its commitment to creating new prosperity, more opportunities and a better quality of life for regional Victoria,” Dr Napthine said.

Regional Rail Link anouncement - project to proceed

Terry Mulder MP, Minister for Public Transport has today announced that the Regional Rail Link Project will go ahead. G21 is very pleased with this announcement and fully supports the project, aimed at easing train congestion and improving the reliability of our trains.The Regional Rail Link Project will increase track capacity between Melbourne and regional rail networks, including the Geelong region's rail network. This will be the first time our region has its own dedicated tracks through the Melbourne suburban system. The Regional Rail Link is expected to be completed in 2016 at the earliest. Click here to view the State Government's Media Release - Regional Rail Link gets green light

Released: Our region's 14 Priority Projects for 2011

On Friday 1 April, G21 released the Geelong region's 14 Priority Projects for 2011 via our e-News. The e-News was sent to over 11,000 subscribers across the Geelong region and Australia-wide.Click here to view the e-News outlining the 14 Priority Projects for 2011.Have you subscribed to our e-News? If not, click here to do so.

Avalon boost for advanced pilot training

Minister for the Aviation Industry Gordon Rich-Phillips today welcomed a decision by Avalon Airport to significantly reduce the minimum fee it charges for aircraft undertaking instrument approach training.Avalon Airport has announced a reduction in its minimum instrument approach fee (for aircraft which do not land) from $100 plus GST to $40 plus GST to take effect from today. Most training aircraft only incur the minimum fee.Mr Rich-Phillips said this was a major boost for advanced pilot training in Victoria.“Avalon operates one of only two or three Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) in Victoria which are available for pilot training. This substantial reduction in fees for using the ILS is a major boost for the advanced pilot training sector,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.Pilots undergoing advanced training often undertake more than 20 practice ILS approaches without landings, before achieving qualification.“The high cost of accessing ILS equipment for pilot training has been of major concern to training providers and this fee reduction is very welcome. I commend Avalon Airport for taking this initiative,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.Basic and advanced pilot training are important export markets for Victoria, and this decision further enhances Victoria’s competitive advantages in the market.Justin Giddings, Chief Executive Officer, Avalon Airport said all approach charges at Avalon Airport are based on the Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) of the arriving aircraft. Aircraft less than 4.7 tonnes, which include the vast majority of training aircraft, undertaking a practice ILS approach, without landing, will be $60 better off.“Avalon Airport is pleased to support the Victorian pilot training sector through this initiative. The reduction in the minimum fee will offer a 60 per cent saving to around 90 per cent of aircraft that perform instrument approach training at Avalon Airport,” Mr Giddings said.Mr Rich-Phillips said Victoria’s aviation industry contributes more than $600 million annually to the state’s economy, with more than $230 million in exports, and it employs more than 22,000 people.“The Victorian Government will continue to actively support the growth of the aviation and aerospace industries in both domestic and international markets,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.

Victorian Government commits $10.2 million to Deakin University for regional student accommodation

Minister for Skills and Higher Education Peter Hall today announced the Victorian Government would commit $10.2 million towards new regional student accommodation for Deakin University’s Warrnambool and Waurn Ponds campuses. “The Government’s funding will mean a total of $10.2 million will be spent to develop 411 student beds, comprising 100 student beds at Warrnambool and 311 student beds at Waurn Ponds,” Mr Hall said during the announcement at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus. The $10.2 million investment is part of a larger $51.25 million to be spent on infrastructure at Deakin, with the balance to be sourced from cash reserves held within the university. “In addition to providing badly needed student accommodation in these regional areas, this project will create 100 new direct jobs and 180 indirect construction jobs with significant flow-on effects in production and income that will strengthen local communities,” Mr Hall said. Mr Hall said research commissioned by Regional Development Victoria established there was a shortage of at least 1,000 on-campus student accommodation beds in regional areas, particularly in the key regional centres of Geelong, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Bendigo and central Gippsland. “The shortage of supply in regional Victoria has been identified as a critical factor inhibiting higher education retention and attainment rates,” Mr Hall said. “The prohibitive cost of living away from home is the single biggest barrier to study or training for people from regional areas, yet skilled young people play an important role in the long-term prosperity and social environment of regional Victoria. Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said funding for the new regional student accommodation was part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, aimed at creating jobs and promoting regional growth. Mr Ryan said Regional Development Victoria’s research demonstrated 70 per cent of students who study in regional Victoria will choose to live and work in regional communities following completion of their study. “Improving access to higher education in the regional towns of Geelong and Warrnambool will play a critical role in helping to raise the proportion of skilled people in these areas,” Mr Ryan said. Mr Hall said State Government final funding would be subject to evidence of approved Commonwealth funding under the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

G21 Snapshots released - March 2011

The March edition of G21's Snapshots has been released. This month, our top feature articles include:New Priority Project overview – Geelong: Cruise Ship Destination State Government's $1 billion Regional Growth Fund announcement $1.4 billion RDA announcement to benefit Geelong region G21's submission completed - Sustainable Population Strategy for Australia Community invited to comment on the future election of a Geelong Mayor Central Geelong Taskforce meets for second time G21 Addressing Disadvantage forum Celebrate Diversity, Challenge Discrimination campaign Climate Commission visits Geelong G21 Freedom from Violence –promotional video released Click here to view the G21 Snapshots - March edition