Small Business Ministerial Council – call for expressions of interest

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The Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher today called for expressions of interest from small business owners to join the Victorian Government’s new Small Business Ministerial Council. Individuals are sought from a variety of industry sectors, in both metropolitan and regional Victoria. The Council will operate for a two year term, from 2011 until 2013. Expressions of interest should be sent to Executive Director of Small Business Victoria, Department of Business and Innovation, GPO Box 4509, Melbourne, VIC 3001, marked Confidential. Nominations must be received by March 25, 2011. Click here to view further details regarding the Small Business Ministerial Council – call for expressions of interest

Released: Guidelines for the RDA Fund

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The Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean today released the program guidelines for the Regional Development Australia Fund.The Regional Development Australia Fund is a $1 billion five-year program that will boost economic and community development and is part of a $1.4 billion commitment to regional Australia announced last week.\The Regional Development Australia Fund is a concrete demonstration of the Federal Government's commitment to furthering development in the regions,\ Mr Crean said.\This is a new approach to unlocking the potential of Australia's regions through a program that focuses on locally driven solutions to regional needs. \With the release of the guidelines, I am looking forward to receiving strong, well-researched, strategic applications for projects that stack up. The funds are for projects that help skill Australia, lift productivity, maximise the opportunity of broadband, sustain our environment, promote social inclusion and improve water and energy efficiency.\The allocation of funding will be competitive, merit-based and only applications that have been endorsed by the local Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees and fit with RDA regional plans will be considered,\ Mr Crean said. An independent panel will be established to assess and provide advice on projects to be funded.Resources for the Regional Development Australia Fund have been allocated as part of a $1.4 billion agreement struck with the Independents last September.Delivering on the agreement, the Federal Government has announced more than $1 billion will be available under the Regional Development Australia Fund, which is in addition to the $350 million already committed to rebuild regional Australia devastated by recent natural disasters. Applications require RDA and Local Government involvement.The Fund is comprised of $450 million from the Priority Regional Infrastructure Program and $573 million from the Regional Infrastructure Fund which is funded from the Minerals Resource Rent Tax. Key features of projects that are being sought under this program include:delivery of concrete economic and social benefitscommitment to innovation and building capacity in local communitieslinking regional communities across traditional boundariesability to leverage additional funding across government and the private sector. Examples of projects that could be funded include regional economic infrastructure projects and community infrastructure such as sporting facilities or childcare centres.Funding for projects will commence on July 1, 2011 with applications for the first funding round of up to $100 million closing on May 13, 2011. This will ensure that shovel-ready projects will be in a position to commence on July 1.There will be a further funding round announced later this year.The program guidelines for the Fund can be found at: www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/rdaf.aspx.

New bus service improving regional transport connections

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Elaine Carbines, CEO of G21 – Geelong Region Alliance, has welcomed Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder’s announcement of a new bus service between Geelong and Colac. Improving regional transport connections is an important project for the G21 Transport Pillar.The new weekday service will start as a 12-month trial leaving Geelong at 5.30pm and arriving in Colac at 7pm. The bus will depart from Geelong Train Station, stopping at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus, Winchelsea, Birregurra before terminating at Colac Train Station.The new bus service will fill a vital gap in the existing timetable, allowing Colac residents an early evening public transport option from Geelong. An evening train service also runs between Geelong and Colac, returning people to Colac at 8.40pm.G21 Board Member and Colac Otway Mayor, Brian Crook, praised the Government for delivering this extra service. “The issue is about better connections and I think this service will provide better connections between Geelong and Colac.”Click here to view Geelong – Colac Bus timetabling information

Regional Land Use Plan - project update

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The G21 Regional Land Use Plan (RLUP) will be prepared by the five G21 Councils in partnership with the State Government. The plan will focus on identifying opportunities for accommodating future residential growth and employment generating enterprises. The Need ‘The Geelong Region Plan: A sustainable growth strategy’ looks towards 2051 and the way we make things happen, to better co-ordinate settlement and land use, infrastructure, economic development and environmental and social interests for the benefit of the region. The G21 region has an aspirational population target of 500,000 by 2051. This achievable population figure will support higher level services and provide a threshold size attractive to future growth industries. Project Description The G21 RLUP will address the region’s land needs in the short (to 2016) and medium-term (2026). Longer-term planning scenarios out to 2050 will also be considered. The objectives of the plan are to: Document and develop a strategic land use plan for the Geelong region Provide land use planning and economic development direction for accommodating urban growth residential and employment land needs, industrial/commercial/rural-agriculture development Take account of identified social needs of the region in planning for communities, the pattern of settlement, and any community infrastructure requirements identified at regional/sub-regional level Recognise environmental opportunities and constraints for the Geelong region in the plan Identify key infrastructure requirements and development principles Clarify and describe the staging and sequencing required for major land use decisions, infrastructure planning and investments and associated budgeting Prepare a plan that documents the required transport, networked services, major community facilities, recreation and open space facilities for the region Prepare a funding and financing strategy to deliver the overall plan. The G21 RLUP will take account of identified social needs at the regional level including: Seeking a pattern of settlement and infrastructure planning that provides for: connectivity between communities, and connectivity between communities and places of work (employment land) Proposing arrangements for timely land release to support availability of housing Identifying regional/sub-regional level community infrastructure requirements. G21 RLUP Development Process The five-phase G21 RLUP development process outlines the way the G21 RLUP will be produced. Click here to view the G21 RLUP Development Process Information Sheet Click here to view the G21 RLUP Developing the G21 RLUP (Phases 1 – 5) G21 RLUP Engagement and Communications Strategy To ensure that communities and key stakeholders are effectively engaged during the development of the G21 RLUP, an Engagement and Communications Strategy is being developed and will be implemented during the life of the project. Click here to view an outline of the G21 RLUP Engagement and Communications Strategy Project Management The plan is being prepared by the G21 RLUP Project Steering Group for the five G21 Councils, working in partnership with the State Government and major infrastructure providers. The G21 RLUP Project Manager is Tim Hellsten.Contact the G21 RLUP Team at: G21RLUP@geelongcity.vic.gov.au Update on the G21 RLUP project (April 2011) Phase 1 is now complete, with the Project Manager appointed, the Project Steering Group and project teams in place, and the budget allocated. Phase 2 is well advanced with an information base of key policies, information and statistics established. Phase 3 is underway: The Engagement and Communications Strategy is out on Open Tender and available here Work teams are preparing background issue papers on the following topics: Residential land needs and growth Employment land needs Environment Networked infrastructure Transport Background issue papers in other topics will follow as work progresses. Two positions have been advertised for the G21 RLUP project team. The Senior Strategic Planner position has been recruited, while recruitment for an administration officer is underway. Constraint Mapping is advanced, including for salinity, coastal impacts, fire, acid sulphate, land subject to slip and land subject to inundation This work will provide background information and data to assist planning for the draft G21 RLUP.

Community comment on Federal health proposals

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G21 has welcomed the State Government’s decision to hold community consultations with key health groups and the Victorian community to help in finalising its position on Federal health reform proposals.G21 supports the GP Association of Geelong’s application to be an early adopter of the Medicare Local initiative and will be attending the community consultation.Click here to view the State Government's media release on the proposed Community ConsultationsClick here to view the GP Association of Geelong’s website

Central Geelong taskforce meets for first time

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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.

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