A taskforce convened by the City of Greater Geelong to consider the future of Central Geelong met for the first time 23 December 2010 at City Hall.Membership of the taskforce included Councillors and City officers, State and Federal politicians, real estate agents, retailers, police, and representatives from Deakin University, Committee for Geelong and G21.“The meeting was very productive and it was encouraging to see the strong commitment from everyone in the taskforce to pull together for the future of Central Geelong,” said Geelong Mayor Cr John Mitchell.The Mayor said the taskforce identified a number of priority areas for action.“One important action for the long term future of Geelong is that we have agreed to formalise the collaboration between the City of Greater Geelong, Deakin University and the Committee for Geelong to develop Vision 2 for the waterfront and Central Geelong,” he said.“Key areas to be considered as part of Vision 2 will be urban living and a revision of the existing Central Geelong Structure Plan,” the Mayor said.The taskforce also identified six priorities for immediate action, which are:Safety – the first step of which will be a collection of data. Parking – this will include a review of parking patterns, occupancy rates and fee structures. The promotion of Geelong – this will be a coordinated campaign to promote Central Geelong including the many existing programs and activities. A review of the cost of doing business in Central Geelong – key cost drivers will be assessed including rents, rates and service costs. New business attraction – this will include an assessment of what types of businesses will suit which parts of Central Geelong and development of a campaign to attract investors. Accommodation – this will include an assessment of the market and what, if any, impediments there might be to inner city residential living.The Mayor said the taskforce was positive about Central Geelong’s future and there was great enthusiasm amongst the taskforce members for the job ahead.“The changing nature of Central Geelong presents challenges but it also offers us great opportunities.“It is important to remember that Central Geelong is still a viable and vibrant business and shopping precinct, which has more businesses now than it did five years ago,” said Cr Mitchell.“There are a number of market trends currently affecting retailing not just in Geelong but Australia wide including the impact of interest rates on consumer confidence and the increase in popularity of shopping on-line,” said Cr Mitchell.“The future for Central Geelong is likely to entail more diversification and the vision we are working on will reflect global trends as well as local market patterns,” the Mayor added.