Snapshots - June/July 2009


July 2009

Colleagues and friends of G21,

As a key member of the broader G21 family, each month we will keep you informed of the key projects and activities of the G21 alliance. G21 is the formal alliance of government, business and community organisations, working together to improve people's lives in the G21 Region.

Regional Strategic Planning Initiative - UPDATE

The State Government's Regional Strategic Planning Initiative (RSPI) has been a major focus of attention this month for G21. The State is developing a Vic-wide summary of issues which will be complemented by a more detailed set from each region. The final framework will guide State Government policy and funding. Therefore it is vital that we ensure that our major issues are documented and included. A number of sources and events are feeding into this work:

a) Review of the G21 Geelong Region Plan

The State Government has acknowledged that the G21 region is "ahead of the game" compared to other regions, thanks to the completion of the G21 Geelong Region Plan in late 2007. 

In light of the State Government planning framework, a review of the G21 Plan was undertaken to consider any issues that have arisen since it was published. Issues such as climate change initiatives and the global financial crisis figured prominently. This work was completed earlier this month and did not identify any major gaps in our Plan.

b) Consultation with G21 Pillars and Councils

Each of the G21 Pillars has identified its top priorities and the G21 Councils have set out theirs in their plans and budgets. A session was also held for local Councillors with Minister Neville and staff from the Ministerial Taskforce driving the work.  

c) Submission of regional priorities to the State Government

All of the above events and sources contributed to G21's submission of high level issues made on behalf of the region on June 30. A more detailed look at the actions required to address these issues will be completed over the next few months. 

Preparing G21 priority projects for State and Federal Government budget cycles

The review of the G21 Plan will also serve as a precursor to identifying the G21 Priority Projects for 2009-10.

Each of the G21 Pillars has reviewed its own area and identified the key topics which they will pursue. The five G21 Councils have also reviewed their priorities and these are outlined in their budget documents. In selecting G21's priority projects for 2009-10, the G21 board will consider all the information and recommendations from the G21 Pillars, councils and consultation forums, and identify those projects most likely to secure support and funding from the State and Federal Governments, in the current environment. This review will also consider the next steps for progressing the G21 Priority Projects of 2008-09.

The next few months will be hectic as we finalise this work. It vitally important that the State and Federal Government recognise our priority issues and therefore that we are united about what these are.

Regional Development Australia seeking committee members

Last weekend saw a call for applications for committee members for the federal government's new Regional Development Australia Network of Committees in Victoria. Regional Development Australia (RDA) will be supported by the State government through Regional Development Victoria (RDV) which has been operating successfully in the G21 region since 2003.

As an integral link between our region and State and Federal departments, agencies and committees, G21 is being encouraged to participate in the establishment of this new entity to ensure that the links between our region's priorities and the state and federal government's delivery mechanisms remain strong. 

Priority Project: Career Development & Skills Service

Designed to provide an accessible, comprehensive and seamless service for workers, job seekers and employers, the CDSS aims to co-locate existing federal, State and community career and skills service providers in one easy-to-access location, with outreach support and virtual access. This innovative arrangement would make a real difference to those affected by industry transition and is becoming increasingly urgent in the current economic climate.

Last week a draft of potential models for the CDSS was delivered by contractors Altegis in partnership with Researching Futures. This work has been funded through a $50,000 grant from the Innovative Regions Centre (IRC).

A forum will be held in mid July to flesh out the alternative models to complete Stage 2 of this project. 

Priority Project: Public Transport Program

As promised, further details of the Victorian Public Transport Plan initiatives that deliver the recommendations of the G21 Integrated Public Transport Strategy will be provided as they become available. This month we are able to report that:

  • Work will commence soon on the Regional Fast Rail project (Tarneit link) which will provide a dedicated line from Southern Cross Station servicing Geelong and other regional centres. The lines will allow carriage of up to 9000 extra passengers per hour and should be completed in 4-5 years.
  • The Princes Highway duplication is funded as far as Winchelsea. Planning work is well under way with physical works programmed to start in 2010 and be completed in 2014.
  • Initial traffic figures from the Ring Road show that it was being heavily used, particularly by trucks which were using it as a preferred route to access the Midland Highway. It was noted that this might require consideration of upgrades to other roads, to cater with this increase.
  • Links from the Ring Road to the Surfcoast and Princes Highway are in train. The Department of Transport noted that they would be working with COGG to define and set aside a corridor for the connection to the Bellarine. Links to the port were also outlined.
  • Changes to bus services are being rolled out progressively across the region. As each part of the region is completed, information on transport options will be letter boxed to every resident.

In a presentation to the G21 Transport Pillar earlier this month, the Department of Transport also noted that discussions were continuing with the Federal Government on priorities for funding other regional roads. The submission incorporated the material provided by G21 on local road priorities.

The Department of Transport also undertook to give a more detailed presentation on rail initiatives at a subsequent meeting. This would include extensions to Armstrong Creek.

Regional Health & Wellbeing priorities and processes established

In a recent presentation to the G21 Board, Jim Higgins, Regional Director from the Department of Human Services was invited to explain DHS's new integrated and area-based approach to health services planning in the G21 region. He confirmed the importance of the G21 Health & Wellbeing Pillar in prioritising issues and initiatives for the region and committed to work closely with the Pillar at a local government level to address health issues more efficiently and effectively.

The G21 Health & Wellbeing Pillar is led by an influential and expert executive team that includes the CEOs of all major health organisations across the G21 region. The Pillar Executive have recently agreed to focus their attention on:

  • Early Years, disadvantaged communities and social inclusion;
  • Health Workforce & Infrastructure; and
  • Health & wellbeing partnerships.

 

An opportunity now exists for interested and suitably qualified people to join the G21 Health & Wellbeing Executive. Expressions of interest are required by Friday, July 24. 

Click here to see who's on the current G21 Health & Wellbeing Executive Committee.

G21 Affordable Housing Taskforce news

Following an extensive tender process, the G21 Affordable Housing Taskforce has recommended Housing Choices Australia (HCA) as the region's preferred Housing Association. A representative from HCA has been working from the G21 office over the past couple of months and now has more than 100 affordable housing units under management in the region. HCA are now appointing permanant staff and establishing an office in Geelong.

From their Geelong based office, HCA will provide responsive and personal tenancy and property management services assisted by introductions, links and relationships provided by members of the Taskforce. They will focus on the expansion of affordable housing within the G21 region to meet the needs of the various communities including students, the aged, low wage earners and seasonal workers as well as those reliant on statutory incomes.

HCA understands and is committed to active participation in the physical, social and economic renewal of disadvantaged public housing estates and will reinvest the “profits” generated from affordable housing activities back into the growth of affordable housing within the region.

The Taskforce's appointment of HCA follows a range of work completed last year, including the G21 Regional Housing Needs Study and the recently reviewed G21 Region Affordable Housing Implementation Plan.

G21 web site developments

Over the last month, descriptions of priority projects for the G21 Pillars have been added to the G21 web site. Click here for an overview of the current Pillar priority project, or go to the relevant Pillar home page for more detailed pillar news and project descriptions.

A number of news feeds from outside organisations have also been added to the web site. Click on the links below and then scroll to the bottom of the page to see the lastest live news and resource feeds from:

  • G21 Home Page
    • The Geelong Advertiser
    • G21 Region weather  
  • G21 Arts & Culture Pillar home page
    • Professional Artist Essentials from ArtistCareer.com
  • G21 Economic Development Pillar home page
    • Business Australia
    • Business Victoria
    • House of Representatives
  • G21 Education & Training Pillar home page
    • Education Network Australia
    • Vocational Education & Training
  • G21 Planning & Services Pillar home page 
    • Minister for Rural & Regional Development
    • Minister for Planning
    • Municipal Association of Victoria
  • G21 Health & Wellbeing Pillar home page
    • Vic Health news & resources
    • Better Health Victoria
    • Primary Health Bulletin from DHS 
  • G21 Transport Pillar home page
    • Minister for Roads & Ports
    • Minister for Public Transport
    • CSIRO (transport)
  • G21 Environment Pillar home page
    • Sustainability Victoria
    • EPA air & water quality readings
  • G21 Sport & Recreation Pillar home page 
    • Ausport
    • Minister for Sport & Recreation
    • Fox Sports

Coming soon to the G21 web site:

  • Regional Resource Library.
  • Regional Marketing Guidelines & Resources.

G21 membership grows

G21 has been very active over the last 12 months, progressing projects with a wide range of stakeholders. Many of these stakeholders are not members of G21. Though it is not necessary to be a member of G21 in order to participate in its activities, expanding the membership base of G21 adds to our credibility when we speak on behalf of the region.

G21 member organisations play an important role in the sustainable development of the G21 region. Members are invited to participate in consultation events and forums, receive regular updates on the activities, priorities and achievements of G21, and have voting rights at the G21 Annual General Meeting. The diversity and range of G21 member organisations encourages a balanced approach to regional planning and increases the influence of G21 at all levels of government.

If your organisation is not a member of G21, or if you know of another organisation that is not a member that should be, we encourage you to submit an application now.

ICT Geelong Inaugural Networking Event

G21 CEO, Andrew Scott will be a keynote speaker at the ICT Geelong Inaugural Networking event on Wednesday, July 29. The event is free of charge and will outline why the ICT Sector is so important to the G21 region, what ICT Geelong actually does and how it can help businesses in the G21 region.

Climate Change Green Paper Public Forum

A public forum on Victoria's climate change Green Paper is being held in Geelong at 10am on July 22. Feedback from individuals and organisations on the ideas put forward in the Green Paper will be critical in developing a comprehensive new climate change strategy for Victoria.

People

After many years serving the Geelong community as the Executive Director of the Geelong Area Consultative Committee, John Hansen retired on June 30. John was instrumental in establishing the G21 Skills Taskforce and has been an invaluable contributor to the Education & Training Pillar and steadfast supporter of G21. Thank you John, you will be missed.

Our congratulations and thanks are also extended to Duncan Elliott, former Regional Director, South West Victoria and now Regional Director, Metropolitan South East for VicRoads, who has been a great ally in assisting the delivery of a range of transport initiatives for the G21 region. Thank you Duncan, your efforts were greatly appreciated and we wish you all the best in your new role in Burwood.

This email has been designed to provide you, an important member of the broader G21 Family, with a snapshot of the key projects and activities of the G21 Alliance over the past months. You have been included in the distribution list of this G21 Snapshots email, because you have an important role in improving people’s lives in the G21 Region as a Federal or State parliamentarian, Councillor, Regional Management Forum member, senior manager with regional Councils, senior manager with Regional Development Victoria, G21 Member, G21 Pillar participant, G21 Board member or member of the media (a list of some 300 individuals or organisations). If there are other people in your organisation or network that you think should be aware of this email please feel free to pass it on to them.

If you want further information or wish to bring something to our attention, please contact either of us at the numbers or addresses given below or refer to the G21 website at www.G21.com.au.