City Deal roll-out begins

The City Deal for Geelong and the Great Ocean Road became ‘real’ with the release in October of a high-level 10-year implementation plan.

The $370 million injection of City Deal funds, primarily from the federal and state governments, is beginning to take form.  The implementation plan sets out broad timelines, project management responsibilities and reporting milestones.

Some projects, such as the Geelong Convention Centre, will need a specific project plan before on-the-ground work begins.  Other projects are ready to go, with work starting early next year.

The strenuous advocacy by G21 and others to secure the City Deal for Geelong and the Great Ocean Road is about to pay tangible dividends for our regional economy.

However the advocacy continues.  The G21 board (pictured below) was in Canberra two weeks ago seeking assurances on timely delivery of funding against City Deal projects.

G21 sought assurances that there will be no delays in on-the-ground funding flowing due to the government ‘pushing out’ projects to future years because of budget constraints.

The $370 million City Deal consists of $183.8 million from the Morrison government, $172 million from the Andrews government and $14.2 million from the City of Greater Geelong. In addition, many of the projects will receive private sector funding.

The City Deal will boost the potential of the visitor economy of Geelong, the Bellarine and the Great Ocean Road and its hinterland.

Facilities along the Great Ocean Road have struggled to keep up with the influx of visitors, often putting at risk the natural environment and leading to a less-than-optimal visitor experience.

Upgrades to visitor facilities and infrastructure along the Great Ocean Road and its hinterland will provide a safer, more enjoyable visitor experience while better protecting the environment and coastline.

A concerted G21 campaign several years ago had already resulted in multi-million dollar federal and state funding for upgrades to the actual road surface, to mitigate the risk of rock slides and to improve signage. That program of work continues.

Within Geelong itself, the City Deal will finally see the much-needed Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre become a reality on Western Beach overlooking Corio Bay. It will draw new events, opportunities and spending to our region.

And the rejuvenation of Geelong’s city centre will continue with projects including extensions to the Green Spine along Malop Street.

The enhancements and opportunities to come from the City Deal’s 10-year roll-out we will ultimately create jobs and strengthen the local economy for the long-term.

City Deal projects will adopt the principles of GROW (G21 Region Opportunities for Work), including wherever possible buying goods and services locally and employing locally.  GROW is a joint G21 and Give Where You Live Foundation initiative.

The City Deal includes:

Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre

The Australian and Victorian governments investing $171.2 million in a new Convention and Exhibition Centre in the city centre. The City of Greater Geelong is investing $3 million towards public realm improvements around the Centre. A new hotel, retail, restaurants and other commercial options will be explored for the Centre.

Revitalising Central Geelong Action Plan

The Australian and Victorian governments are investing $27.85 million, alongside $10.28 million from the City of Greater Geelong, to deliver a range of projects to revitalise public spaces in central Geelong.

Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour

The Australian Government is investing $3.5 million in the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour project, building on existing investments of $2 million from the Australian Government, $7.5 million from the Victorian Government and $3 million from the City of Greater Geelong. This will transform and activate the entire precinct, improving connectivity and public access to the waterfront.

Shipwreck Coast Master Plan

The Australian and Victorian governments are jointly investing $108.15 million to deliver priority projects under Stage Two of the Shipwreck Coast Master Plan.  This includes upgrades at Glenample Homestead and at the Twelve Apostles, a visitor pod, viewing areas and carpark improvements.

Great Ocean Road Infrastructure Projects

The Australian Government is investing $27.5 million to a range of other projects along the Great Ocean Road, to better accommodate tourists and reduce impacts of increased visitation on the local community.  These includes upgrades to Apollo Bay Harbour, redevelopment of Point Grey, development of the Great Ocean Walk, public facility upgrades at Kennett River and a driver safety campaign for international tourists.

Deakin University Future Economy Precinct

The Australian and Victorian governments are investing $7.6 million in the expansion of Deakin University’s Future Economy Precinct at the Waurn Ponds campus. The investment will drive the growth of emerging advanced industries building on the Deakin’s strengths in advanced manufacturing, biotech, renewable energy, robotics and high value agriculture.

Queenscliff Ferry Terminal

The Australian Government is investing $10 million in the construction of a new ferry terminal at Queenscliff to improve ferry services crossing the heads of Port Phillip Bay. The project will deliver modern facilities and improved access.

Smart Cities

The City of Greater Geelong is investing $900,000 towards smart parking activities and $250,000 towards other smart cities initiatives, to deliver a range of projects using smart and data technology to improve service delivery.

Photo caption:

G21 Board at Parliament House Canberra on 16 October 2019, (L to R): GeelongPort CEO Brett Winter; Greater Geelong CEO Martin Cutter; Golden Plains CEO Eric Braslis; Colac Otway Mayor Jason Schram; Surf Coast Acting CEO Anne Howard; G21 CEO Elaine Carbines; Queenscliffe CEO Martin Gill; Queenscliffe Mayor Bob Merriman; Golden Plains Mayor Owen Sharkey; Surf Coast Mayor Rose Hodge; Give Where You Live CEO and G21 Chair Bill Mithen; Epworth Geelong CEO Damian Armour; Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher; and Colac Otway CEO Peter Brown.