Regional Rail Link anouncement - project to proceed

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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.

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