Geelong gains $7 million for Regional Community Health Hub at Deakin University

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On the 30 March, Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall announced the Victorian Government will commit $7 million towards a new Regional Community Health Hub at Deakin University’s Geelong campus. This is another great win for the Geelong region.Mr Hall said the Health Hub was expected to accommodate 1500 new students, 172 new staff and inject $140 million a year into the regional economy by 2017. The development is also expected to create a further 850 indirect jobs. Speaking at the University’s Waurn Ponds Campus in Geelong, Mr Hall said this was an important initiative for Deakin University, for Geelong and for Victoria. “This facility will not only build on the area’s existing education and research potential, it will also deliver practical health and educational benefits which will reward the greater Geelong region for years to come,” Mr Hall said. “The facility will introduce new teaching programs in clinical optometry, clinical pharmacy and exercise and sports science. In addition to these new projects a new community-based program will be offered to indigenous students, and a new e-learning service – Deakin Health online – will be introduced.” Deakin Health online will link health professionals, practitioners, and educational institutions for the clinical training of health professionals “The Victorian Government is proud to provide funding to support this $52.6 million initiative for Deakin University.” Mr Hall said that as Victoria moves to a knowledge-driven, innovative economy, the state would increasingly need a workforce with higher levels of qualifications and skills. “Victoria’s tertiary education system stands out among many other regions and is a key driver of the state’s economic development. “Victoria is justifiably proud of its reputation for higher education, and the government is looking to increase the number of students obtaining tertiary qualifications in Victoria to help drive economic development.” Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Coalition Government was committed to supporting ongoing infrastructure projects, particularly in regional Victoria. “The government is proud to provide funding through its $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to support this wonderful $52.6 million initiative for Deakin University,” Mr Ryan said. “Skilled young people play an important role in the long term prosperity and social environment of regional Victoria, and improving access to higher education opportunities in Victoria will assist in raising the proportion of skilled people in these areas.”

Inverleigh bridge repair delivered ahead of schedule

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The Spring Creek Road Bridge in Inverleigh has re-opened ahead of schedule with the completion of repair works. The timber bridge has been repaired with new steel and concrete components that will improve safety for local motorists. VicTrack’s General Manager for Capital Projects, Mr Ian Davidson, said the project was carried out on behalf of the State Government to ensure public safety. “Following a routine inspection, it was discovered that the bridge had been overloaded and weakened,” Mr Davidson said. “VicTrack acted to close the bridge until essential repair works could be carried out on the bridge. “VicTrack replaced a number of timber components with steel and concrete, and we took the opportunity to upgrade the timber barrier with a more appropriate steel barrier,” Mr Davidson said. The $600,000 project included safety works, the installation of new steel piers and concrete abutments, the installation of crash barriers and general repairs. The works were funded under VicTrack’s Bridge Rehabilitation Program. Click here to see further details regarding the Inverleigh Bridge works

Election of Geelong Mayor - community invited to comment

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Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell today invited residents and ratepayers of Greater Geelong to have their say on the model for the direct election of the Mayor.With the Minister’s launch of a discussion paper that sets out a number of options for mayoral elections for the community to consider, the Coalition Government is delivering on its election commitment to give the people of Geelong the opportunity to directly elect their mayor. “The Victorian Government is responding to requests from members of the Geelong community to be able to directly elect their mayor,” Mrs Powell said.“I urge citizens of the City of Greater Geelong to get involved and have their say about which model they prefer in order to do this. “The Geelong community has articulated its desire for this change and now is the time to let us know how you wish to elect the leadership you want.”Mrs Powell said residents and ratepayers are being asked whether they wish to directly elect just the mayor or to directly elect a leadership team comprising both the mayor and a deputy mayor, as with the City of Melbourne.“People are also invited to consider whether candidates for mayor or a deputy mayor should be allowed to also nominate as regular councillors,” Mrs Powell said.The Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government David Morris will be taking the lead role in the consultation phase.At present the Mayor of Greater Geelong is elected by the councillors, as required by the Local Government Act 1989. The current mayor was re-elected in December 2010 for a two-year term that will expire when the council has its general elections in late 2012.“I know that the residents and ratepayers of Greater Geelong are passionate about the leadership of their community so I encourage you all to have your say,” Mrs Powell said.Copies of the discussion paper may be obtained from Local Government Victoria by telephoning (03) 9651 7026.Submissions must be lodged with Local Government Victoria by Monday, 16 May 2011.Lodgement may be made by email to local.government@dpcd.vic.gov.au or by post to Local Government Victoria, GPO Box 2392, Melbourne VIC 3001.

Small Business Ministerial Council – call for expressions of interest

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The Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher today called for expressions of interest from small business owners to join the Victorian Government’s new Small Business Ministerial Council. Individuals are sought from a variety of industry sectors, in both metropolitan and regional Victoria. The Council will operate for a two year term, from 2011 until 2013. Expressions of interest should be sent to Executive Director of Small Business Victoria, Department of Business and Innovation, GPO Box 4509, Melbourne, VIC 3001, marked Confidential. Nominations must be received by March 25, 2011. Click here to view further details regarding the Small Business Ministerial Council – call for expressions of interest

Released: Guidelines for the RDA Fund

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The Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean today released the program guidelines for the Regional Development Australia Fund.The Regional Development Australia Fund is a $1 billion five-year program that will boost economic and community development and is part of a $1.4 billion commitment to regional Australia announced last week.\The Regional Development Australia Fund is a concrete demonstration of the Federal Government's commitment to furthering development in the regions,\ Mr Crean said.\This is a new approach to unlocking the potential of Australia's regions through a program that focuses on locally driven solutions to regional needs. \With the release of the guidelines, I am looking forward to receiving strong, well-researched, strategic applications for projects that stack up. The funds are for projects that help skill Australia, lift productivity, maximise the opportunity of broadband, sustain our environment, promote social inclusion and improve water and energy efficiency.\The allocation of funding will be competitive, merit-based and only applications that have been endorsed by the local Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees and fit with RDA regional plans will be considered,\ Mr Crean said. An independent panel will be established to assess and provide advice on projects to be funded.Resources for the Regional Development Australia Fund have been allocated as part of a $1.4 billion agreement struck with the Independents last September.Delivering on the agreement, the Federal Government has announced more than $1 billion will be available under the Regional Development Australia Fund, which is in addition to the $350 million already committed to rebuild regional Australia devastated by recent natural disasters. Applications require RDA and Local Government involvement.The Fund is comprised of $450 million from the Priority Regional Infrastructure Program and $573 million from the Regional Infrastructure Fund which is funded from the Minerals Resource Rent Tax. Key features of projects that are being sought under this program include:delivery of concrete economic and social benefitscommitment to innovation and building capacity in local communitieslinking regional communities across traditional boundariesability to leverage additional funding across government and the private sector. Examples of projects that could be funded include regional economic infrastructure projects and community infrastructure such as sporting facilities or childcare centres.Funding for projects will commence on July 1, 2011 with applications for the first funding round of up to $100 million closing on May 13, 2011. This will ensure that shovel-ready projects will be in a position to commence on July 1.There will be a further funding round announced later this year.The program guidelines for the Fund can be found at: www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/rdaf.aspx.

New bus service improving regional transport connections

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Elaine Carbines, CEO of G21 – Geelong Region Alliance, has welcomed Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder’s announcement of a new bus service between Geelong and Colac. Improving regional transport connections is an important project for the G21 Transport Pillar.The new weekday service will start as a 12-month trial leaving Geelong at 5.30pm and arriving in Colac at 7pm. The bus will depart from Geelong Train Station, stopping at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus, Winchelsea, Birregurra before terminating at Colac Train Station.The new bus service will fill a vital gap in the existing timetable, allowing Colac residents an early evening public transport option from Geelong. An evening train service also runs between Geelong and Colac, returning people to Colac at 8.40pm.G21 Board Member and Colac Otway Mayor, Brian Crook, praised the Government for delivering this extra service. “The issue is about better connections and I think this service will provide better connections between Geelong and Colac.”Click here to view Geelong – Colac Bus timetabling information

Regional Land Use Plan - project update

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The G21 Regional Land Use Plan (RLUP) will be prepared by the five G21 Councils in partnership with the State Government. The plan will focus on identifying opportunities for accommodating future residential growth and employment generating enterprises. The Need ‘The Geelong Region Plan: A sustainable growth strategy’ looks towards 2051 and the way we make things happen, to better co-ordinate settlement and land use, infrastructure, economic development and environmental and social interests for the benefit of the region. The G21 region has an aspirational population target of 500,000 by 2051. This achievable population figure will support higher level services and provide a threshold size attractive to future growth industries. Project Description The G21 RLUP will address the region’s land needs in the short (to 2016) and medium-term (2026). Longer-term planning scenarios out to 2050 will also be considered. The objectives of the plan are to: Document and develop a strategic land use plan for the Geelong region Provide land use planning and economic development direction for accommodating urban growth residential and employment land needs, industrial/commercial/rural-agriculture development Take account of identified social needs of the region in planning for communities, the pattern of settlement, and any community infrastructure requirements identified at regional/sub-regional level Recognise environmental opportunities and constraints for the Geelong region in the plan Identify key infrastructure requirements and development principles Clarify and describe the staging and sequencing required for major land use decisions, infrastructure planning and investments and associated budgeting Prepare a plan that documents the required transport, networked services, major community facilities, recreation and open space facilities for the region Prepare a funding and financing strategy to deliver the overall plan. The G21 RLUP will take account of identified social needs at the regional level including: Seeking a pattern of settlement and infrastructure planning that provides for: connectivity between communities, and connectivity between communities and places of work (employment land) Proposing arrangements for timely land release to support availability of housing Identifying regional/sub-regional level community infrastructure requirements. G21 RLUP Development Process The five-phase G21 RLUP development process outlines the way the G21 RLUP will be produced. Click here to view the G21 RLUP Development Process Information Sheet Click here to view the G21 RLUP Developing the G21 RLUP (Phases 1 – 5) G21 RLUP Engagement and Communications Strategy To ensure that communities and key stakeholders are effectively engaged during the development of the G21 RLUP, an Engagement and Communications Strategy is being developed and will be implemented during the life of the project. Click here to view an outline of the G21 RLUP Engagement and Communications Strategy Project Management The plan is being prepared by the G21 RLUP Project Steering Group for the five G21 Councils, working in partnership with the State Government and major infrastructure providers. The G21 RLUP Project Manager is Tim Hellsten.Contact the G21 RLUP Team at: G21RLUP@geelongcity.vic.gov.au Update on the G21 RLUP project (April 2011) Phase 1 is now complete, with the Project Manager appointed, the Project Steering Group and project teams in place, and the budget allocated. Phase 2 is well advanced with an information base of key policies, information and statistics established. Phase 3 is underway: The Engagement and Communications Strategy is out on Open Tender and available here Work teams are preparing background issue papers on the following topics: Residential land needs and growth Employment land needs Environment Networked infrastructure Transport Background issue papers in other topics will follow as work progresses. Two positions have been advertised for the G21 RLUP project team. The Senior Strategic Planner position has been recruited, while recruitment for an administration officer is underway. Constraint Mapping is advanced, including for salinity, coastal impacts, fire, acid sulphate, land subject to slip and land subject to inundation This work will provide background information and data to assist planning for the draft G21 RLUP.

Community comment on Federal health proposals

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G21 has welcomed the State Government’s decision to hold community consultations with key health groups and the Victorian community to help in finalising its position on Federal health reform proposals.G21 supports the GP Association of Geelong’s application to be an early adopter of the Medicare Local initiative and will be attending the community consultation.Click here to view the State Government's media release on the proposed Community ConsultationsClick here to view the GP Association of Geelong’s website

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