Young people from the Geelong and Surf Coast region invited to get involved

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Andrew Katos, Member for South Barwon today invited young people aged 12-25 years from Geelong and Surf Coast region to apply to join the Victorian Coalition Government’s new Youth Ministerial Advisory Committee called Involve. “I encourage all young people from the Geelong and Surf Coast region who are passionate about making a difference and being involved in their community to apply to be one of our two representatives on the Involve committee. “This is a great opportunity for young people to be involved in their community and gain leadership skills by having representation at a state level”, Mr Katos said. The Involve committee will include two people from every Victorian region; one representative aged between 12-17 and one aged between 18-25. There will also be youth representatives from the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria and Centre for Multicultural Youth on the committee. Minister for Youth Affairs Ryan Smith said the Victorian Coalition Government is committed to hearing the voices of young Victorians. “It is important we listen to and provide opportunities for young Victorians to fully participate and get involved in their community and government decision-making. “The Involve committee is part of the Coalition Government’s youth engagement strategy which includes the recently announced Engage! Program, Youth Parliament, the Rural and Regional Youth Action Strategy, Rock Eisteddfod and National Youth Week. “The Involve program will give young people the opportunity to meet with community leaders as well as develop skills and networks through training,” Mr Smith said. For more information about Involve and to download an application form go to www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au/involve Applications close on 31 October 2011.

$20 million Communities for Nature grants program

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Andrew Katos MP has announced that the Geelong and Surf Coast region can now apply for grants under the Victorian Coalition Government’s $20 million Communities for Nature (C4N) program. The grants will enable local communities to conduct work that will protect and enhance their local environment. “Improving our natural spaces to enhance the local environment provides great benefit and pride in our community,” Mr Katos said. Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith highlighted the important role of Victorian communities in protecting our environment and delivering on-the-ground environmental works. “C4N will encourage communities to take practical environmental action over the next four years with groups and land managers being able to apply for small project grants of up to $10,000 and between $10,000 and $150,000 for large projects,” Mr Smith said. “This program delivers on the Coalition Government’s election commitment to provide practical assistance to help local communities make a positive difference in improving, protecting and conserving our environment. “I encourage all community groups and land managers involved in everything from biodiversity and habitat preservation, to revegetation and cleaning up waterways, to apply. “These grants are all about supporting the work of people in both urban and rural communities who freely give up their time to care for Victoria’s land, water and biodiversity,” Mr Smith said. Mr Katos said, “I encourage local groups to apply and be part of this important program.” For more information please visit www.dse.vic.gov.au/communitiesfornature or phone 1300 366 356. Applications close on 19 December 2011. Click here for information on the G21 Environment Pillar

Funding for innovative Geelong broadband projects

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The Minister for Technology, Gordon Rich-Phillips MP, has announced that applications are now being sought for Geelong projects that develop innovative broadband solutions to boost productivity. This initiative is part of the State Government's Broadband-Enabled Innovation Program. Expressions of Interest under Round 2 of the Broadband-Enabled Innovation Program (BEIP) will be accepted until Friday 4 November 2011. Click here to read the full State Government Media Release Click here to find out more about the Broadband-Enabled Innovation Program

Lavers Hill selected to run community fire drills

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Two high fire risk communities in Victoria will practice their emergency response to bushfires as part of community fire drills during Fire Action Week this year, Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan announced today. “The Noojee community in Gippsland, and Lavers Hill community in the Otway Ranges will take part in an evacuation-style drill as part of the Coalition Government’s election commitment to run a pilot program to better prepare Victoria for bushfires,” Mr Ryan said. “This pilot will test community responses to simulated fire scenarios and is designed to help develop emergency management models to use in preparing fire-prone communities right across Victoria.” Mr Ryan said Noojee and Lavers Hill had been chosen for the community pilot drill as they were in high risk bushfire areas and had limited bushfire safety options. “It is not possible to establish Neighbourhood Safer Places in Noojee and Lavers Hill so the drill will focus on evacuation for these areas,” Mr Ryan said. The drills, which will cost $20,000 in total to run, will take place this year in Noojee on 15 November and Lavers Hill on 18 November and have a particular focus on evacuation. “While this pilot will focus on evacuation, there is scope for future exercises to focus on other elements of community preparedness, taking into account the needs of all community members,” Mr Ryan said. “Bushfire-prone communities in high risk areas need to recognise how to best respond to different fire scenarios, understand different shelter options and identify potential places of shelter as part of their own bushfire survival plans.” Mr Ryan said the Fire Services Commissioner was working with Victoria Police, the fire services, the Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner, as well as government departments and relevant councils to facilitate the pilot. “The exercise scenarios will build on and test the state’s arrangements concerning Township Protection Plans, evacuation guidelines and current warning protocols.” The Fire Services Commissioner will evaluate the pilot and the outcomes will be used in the development of a model for conducting future community fire drills.

G21 Volunteer Survey - open until 14 October

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G21 is conducting a survey to ascertain the size of volunteer efforts within the Geelong region as well as the issues, concerns and questions volunteer groups face in finding, recruiting and keeping volunteers. The results of the survey will be used to build a G21 Volunteering Strategy to assist in better resourcing and supporting volunteers, volunteering and ultimately the quality of life in the Geelong region. Those who manage volunteers within the Geelong region (including City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire, Borough of Queenscliffe, Golden Plains and Colac Otway) are invited to participate in this survey which is available on-line or in paper copy. All responses will be kept confidential. Online version: http://tinyurl.com/G21Volsurvey Paper copy: Call Volunteering Geelong on (03) 5221 1377. The G21 Volunteer Survey is open until 14 October. Prize Draw To thank you for your time you will be entered into a draw. One individual will receive two Gold Class tickets for their personal use and one organisation will win a $100 Officeworks voucher for their organisation. Click here to find out more about the G21 Volunteer Strategy

Cats win benefits Geelong region

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Minister for Regional Cities and avid Cats supporter Denis Napthine today congratulated the Geelong Football Club on winning its ninth VFL/AFL premiership. Dr Napthine said Geelong’s win over Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday was a fantastic result for the club, the town and regional Victoria. “The Geelong Football Club is the highest profile organisation representing regional Victoria on Australia’s stage,” Dr Napthine said. “The Cats provide enormous exposure for regional Victoria on a national scale and every week when Geelong players run on to the field of battle they are representing regional Victoria. “Because of that the Geelong Football Club is the perfect ambassador for promoting all the fantastic things regional Victoria has to offer. “As regional Victoria’s sole AFL club, the Cats have demonstrated beyond any doubt that, no matter what part of this great state you are from, you can achieve great things at the very highest level. “Three premierships in the past five years is proof of that and this achievement puts this Cats team up there with the finest that have ever played our national game. “Collingwood also deserves to be congratulated for making back-to-back grand finals and fighting hard to defend its title.” Dr Napthine said a Geelong premiership would deliver a significant economic boost to the town through pre-game events like last week’s open training session at Skilled Stadium and post-game celebrations at the ground, which would attract thousands of well-wishers. “As much as this win will deliver a great boost to Geelong’s economy, it will also bring huge social benefits to the town and regional Victoria,” Dr Napthine said. “There is a feel-good factor that comes with supporting the premiership team that instills a great sense of pride and makes people walk tall. “The Victorian Government understands the value of the Geelong Football Club to the town and its supporters. “That is one of the many reasons we announced in April a $25 million commitment to make Skilled Stadium bigger and better, with a redeveloped Doug Wade Stand, including a new Community Wellness and Education Centre. “The redevelopment will increase the stadium’s capacity to 34,500 and bring better spectator amenities, improved facilities for local sporting clubs and a huge boost for community sport and recreation,” Dr Napthine said. Click here to view the Stage 3 Skilled Stadium Redevelopment Pillar Project description

$120,000 grant to support young people in Geelong

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Minister for Employment Richard Dalla-Riva has asked the Member for South Barwon, Andrew Katos, to officially announce and present today a grant of $120,000 to Mentor Human Resources to place 15 disadvantaged young people into sustainable employment. Minister Dalla-Riva said the grant to Mentor’s Youth Employment Project would provide training assistance and identify sustainable employment for disadvantaged young people in the Neighbourhood and Community Renewal areas in Geelong. “Mentor has developed employment projects which provide pre-vocational training to prepare young people for employment,” Mr Katos said. “Young people are placed into work trial placements where they can continue to develop their skills. “The group also provides ongoing support such as mentoring to young people and ongoing support to the employers who form part of the program. “The Mentor team has more than 20 years’ knowledge and experience working within Geelong, Melbourne and throughout regional Victoria. “Mentor is a nationally accredited registered training organisation that offers businesses opportunities to employ apprentices and trainees with the flexibility required by industry,” Mr Katos said. Click here to visit the Mentor website

G21's response to relocating motor vehicle importing and exporting to the Port of Geelong

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G21 – The Geelong Region Alliance (G21) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Discussion Paper re the feasibility of relocating the motor vehicle importing and exporting to the Port of Geelong. Click here to view G21's response to the Discussion Paper

Have your say about the Avalon Airport Rail Link project

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The Department of Transport is seeking community input to help develop options for the Avalon Airport Rail Link project. Have your say about the project by joining the online discussion forum, attending a community workshop in Lara, or by contacting the project team - find out more about getting involved in this important project at the Department of Transport website. A rail link to Avalon Airport will: • provide a high standard public transport service for passengers • support the development of Avalon Airport • support the growth of economic and employment opportunities in the area. The State Government has committed $3 million over two years for planning and development of the project. The Avalon Airport Rail Link project is now in the planning stage, which involves a range of technical, economic and environmental investigations and discussions with the community and stakeholders. The study team will consider stakeholder and community input together with the findings of these investigations to develop options for a rail link to Avalon Airport.

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