Snapshots - November 2008

November 2008

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.

People

This month, Ross Synot concludes his term as an Elected Director of G21. Ross was elected as a member of the first G21 Board from June 2005. He also served as the leader of the G21 Sport and Recreation Pillar group, overseeing the delivery of major projects including the Regional Sports Development Plan and the Regional Infrastructure Development Plan. In addition to this, Ross has been instrumental in securing the Australian Masters Games 2009 for the G21 region, as well as the establishment of the Barwon Sports Academy. G21 extends gratitude and appreciation to Ross for his outstanding contribution to the G21 region, particularly in the field of sport and recreation.

This month we welcome Lenny Jenner, the new Chief Executive Officer of the Borough of Queencliffe to the G21 extended Board, as the Borough of Queenscliffe’s Nominated Alternate Representative. Lenny is also the Chair of the G21 Health & Wellbeing Pillar Executive Committee, which has become much more focused and active during 2008. Lenny will provide another valuable link between the Board and the Health and Wellbeing Pillar. Congratulations to Lenny on his new appointments.

Regional Planning Ministerial Taskforce

The Victorian Government has established a Regional Planning Ministerial Taskforce to develop a long-term blueprint for the future growth of provincial Victoria. The members of the Ministerial Taskforce are:

  • The Hon. Jacinta Allan (Chair) - Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Minister for Skills and Workforce Participation
  • The Hon. John Lenders - Treasurer
  • The Hon. Justin Madden - Minister for Planning
  • The Hon. Peter Batchelor - Minister for Energy and Resources and Minister for Community Development
  • The Hon. Joe Helper - Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Small Business
  • The Hon. Lisa Neville - Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Community Services and Minister for Senior Victorians
  • Kaye Darveniza - Parliamentary Secretary for Regional & Rural Development.

The Regional Planning Ministerial Taskforce held a round table in Geelong on November 5, with over 50 invited guests from around the region. The G21 Chairperson gave an opening address summarising the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities facing the G21 region:

Strengths

  • Deakin University
  • Avalon Airport
  • Port of Geelong
  • Research Capabilities
  • Tourism

 

Weakness

  • Pockets of entrenched disadvantage
  • Health outcomes
  • Education levels
  • Transport links to Melbourne
  • Public transport in the region

 

Threats

  • Economy in transition
  • Climate change impacts
    Emissions trading

 

Opportunities

  • Biotechnology
  • Deakin Technology Precinct
  • The next TAC
  • Aquaculture and marine industry
  • Development fuelled by the Ring Road
  • Growing the region
  • Connected up government

The presentation concluded with the announcement of a G21 forum, supported by Regional Development Victoria, to be held in February/March 2009, to refresh in people’s minds the G21 Geelong Regional Plan, understand the changes to our region since the plan was adopted, review the current list of priority Regional Projects and explore potential new priority projects, leading to a refreshed regional work plan for the next 12 to 24 months.

Subsequent feedback has been very positive with the Ministerial Taskforce concluding that this region has a clear sense of direction and was well placed to move forward with important regional projects.

G21 in Canberra

A delegation from G21, the Committee for Geelong, and the City of Greater Geelong attended a number of meetings with key Federal Ministers (and their advisors) and Federal Bureaucrats in Canberra on November 10, 11 and 12.

The delegation included Ed Coppe (G21), Andrew Scott (G21), Jim Cousins (Committee for Geelong) and Peter Dorling (Committee for Geelong), Kate Sullivan (City of Greater Geelong), David Peart (Geelong Manufacturing Council), Frank Costa (Costa’s) and David Simpson (Deakin University). Meetings were co-ordinated by Ali Murphy (Redstick Communications) and Chris Balaam (Richard Marles office), and facilitated by Richard Marles MP and Darren Cheeseman MP. Our thanks for their invaluable assistance.

The meetings included:

FedCats function in Parliament House
This annual event, hosted by Richard Marles MP, is attended by a number of Federal supporters of the Geelong Football Club. This event is designed to utilise the profile of the Geelong Football Club to lift the awareness of the G21 Region in the corridors of Parliament House.

Andrew Tongue, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (DITRDLG)
Andrew Tongue has been working with G21, Committee for Geelong, COGG and Linfox to facilitate Federal Government international gateway approval for Avalon Airport. This initiative is making good progress.

David Hawker MP, Member for Wannon

Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson

Gary Gray, Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development

The delegation stressed the importance of Geelong as one of Australia’s major cities and the importance of infrastructure funding to the G21 Region. Gary Gray advised us how we could best pursue our infrastructure projects with Infrastructure Australia, and expressed a desire for Regional Development Australia and Regional Development Victoria to work together seamlessly for the benefit of the G21 Region.

The Hon Andrew Robb, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure
Discussions focused on the possible impacts on Geelong of Emissions Trading and the newly released Federal Government car plan.

Martin Ferguson, Minister for Energy and Resources
The delegation focussed on the potential impact of Carbon Trading schemes on the region and explored the potential for support of renewable energy projects.

Charles Rankin, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR)
Charles Rankin’s branch has oversight of the national network of Careers Information Centres managed by Centrelink under a service agreement. We sought his support for the Career Development and Skills Service initiative.

David Pearson and Megan Edwards, Advisers to Penny Wong, Minister for Climate Change and Water
The meeting focussed on the impacts of carbon trading on the region, alternative energy opportunities and regional water projects.

Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
The meeting focussed on the recently announced support for the car industry, the Innovative Regions Centre and the impact of carbon trading. Avalon Airport, the Port of Geelong, Point Wilson and the Career Development and Skills Service were also raised with the Minister.

Mark Sjolander, Chief of Staff to the Hon Dr. Mike Kelly, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support
Discussion focused on the potential of Point Wilson as a major alternative Australian commercial port as part of an integrated transport hub in the G21 region.

Advisers to Anthony Albanese, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
The opportunity was taken to follow up on the Major Cities Unit.

Kate Ellis, Minister for Sport
Commitments made it impossible to meet with Minister Ellis on this trip. However, contact was made and the Minister suggested that we meet with her in her Adelaide office in the near future to discuss support for the Masters Games.

G21 supports Lethbridge Airpark

Following a presentation to the G21 Board in October, a letter of support has been secured from the G21 Board to assist the proprietors of the Lethbridge Airpark with a proposal to develop “Light Aircraft Aviation Hub” services and infrastructure.

The presentation to the Board demonstrated that the development of such a facility in the G21 Region will close a strategic gap in aviation services identified by the G21 Economic Development and Transport Pillar groups.

Strategic planning has identified that the Lethbridge Airpark has several obvious advantages for airport site location and expansion when compared to the development options available to other airfield sites in the region. It also identified that support for this proposal does not preclude the development of other airfields in the G21 region to address other aviation opportunities.

Parliamentary Inquiry into Regional Centres of the Future

A Committee drawn from the Victorian Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council held this Parliamentary Inquiry in Geelong on November 17. Over the course of the day, presentations were made by G21, the City of Greater Geelong, Champions of the Bush Incorporated, the Barwon Water Board, Avalon Airport, the Public Transport Users Group and the Committee for Geelong, to Damian Drum MLC, Member for Northern Victoria, Gayle Tierney MLC, Member for Western Victoria, Wendy Lovell MLC, Member for Northern Victoria and Russell Northe MP, Member for Morwell.

The Inquiry aims to support and encourage further economic development, population growth and strong social capital in regional centres. The Terms of Reference include the development of industrial land, investments in infrastructure and initiatives to encourage businesses, industries and government authorities to establish operations in regional centres.

G21 was invited to present the opening address and made a number of observations based on our experience of planning and driving development for our region. Our key message was a firm belief that the regions can contribute strongly to the future growth and development of Victoria provided that they receive the necessary support. The growth of the regions, particularly those close to Melbourne, can also greatly reduce growth pressure on Melbourne and would thereby justify the necessary investment.

We also noted that each region is different and will offer its own set of challenges and opportunities. Centrally planned and driven programs are generally poorly suited to such a situation. It is therefore important that the State Government support and work with each region in assessing its own situation and driving initiatives to give effect to locally developed and endorsed plans.

The G21 presentation generated many questions from the Inquiry, focussing largely on the attraction of companies and relocation of government bodies to regional areas.

A 'Helping Hand' for SME employers

Arising from the G21 Skills Taskforce, a resource to assist small and medium business operators to attract and retain skilled staff was launched on October 30, at the Gordon Gallery.

Developed by Maria Zaluski, of the Australian Industry Group and the G21 Skills Taskforce, the Helping Hand brochure and website is a one-stop-shop for employers needing to bring new employees into their business in the G21 region. It offers facts about training and employment including secondary school work participation, Australian school-based apprenticeships, Australian apprenticeships, staff recruitment and employment options, along with information about government incentives and assistance available to employers.

Project partners include the Australian Government, Geelong Area Consultative Committee, the City of Greater Geelong, Geelong Regional Vocational Education Council Inc., MEGT Australian Apprenticeship Centre, JOLT Group Training Ltd. Gordon Institute of TAFE, Australian Industry Group, Local Learning and Employment Network Inc, G-FORCE Apprenticeships and trainees.

G21 congratulates Maria on the delivery of this valuable resource.

Regional Marketing Project

On Sunday, November 9, the second in a series of four G21 region promotional lift-outs was published in The Age. The lift-out is part of the $250,000 G21 Regional Marketing Program - a fully funded priority project comprising:

·  The ‘Geelong Region - The Best Place to Live’ campaign, which includes the four Age lift-outs, market research, a promotional website, and a television commercial; and

·  A marketing business plan to facilitate ongoing public and private sector regional marketing collaboration.

The program aims to align the external perceptions of the G21 region with its current attributes and vision for the future. It also makes more effective use of marketing dollars in delivering the initiatives of the G21 Geelong Region Plan by engaging both the public and the private sector to contribute to collaborative co-ordinated campaigns, where mutual benefits can be demonstrated.

The objectives of the project are:

  • To attract and retain professional and skilled workers to the G21 region.
  • To attract business investment in existing and desired areas of competitive advantage in the G21 region.
  • To support the transition of the manufacturing industry in the G21 region.
  • Counter negative perceptions of central Geelong by promoting it as a vibrant regional service centre and major Australian city.
  • Establish a sustainable marketing model for the G21 region.

 

Project partners Regional Development Victoria, TAC, Barwon Health, Central Geelong Marketing, Geelong Chamber of Commerce, Committee for Geelong, Deakin University, Geelong Otway Tourism, Gordon Institute of TAFE, GP Association of Geelong, Shell Australia, Target Australia, Victorian Regional Channels Authority, V/Line and our regional Councils are now working on the production of a television commercial, which will air in the first half of 2009.

The campaign website has also been developed and is attracting an unprecedented number of ‘hits’.

G21 presentation to the Interdepartmental Committee (IDC)

When the G21 Geelong Region Plan was launched by Premier Brumby in September 2007, he also announced the formation of a Victorian Government Interdepartmental Committee to assist the G21 Region to pursue significant projects with the Victorian Government.

This Interdepartmental Committee is chaired by Professor Peter Dawkins, Secretary of the Department of Education of Education and Early Childhood Development and includes senior representatives of each significant Victorian Government Department.

On Wednesday, November 19, G21 made a formal presentation of the G21 Region Priority Projects to this G21 Interdepartmental Committee (IDC). The presentation was focused on what the G21 Region sees as its major priorities and what the IDC could do to help bring these projects to fruition. G21 extended Board members Ed Coppe, Kay Rundle and Tracey Slatter and CEO Andrew Scott presented to this IDC.

The IDC provided some initial comments and undertook to provide a formal response to each project and how they might be progressed. The IDC intends to nominate a State Government lead agency for each project. The formal response is expected by mid to late December. The IDC thanked all those involved in G21 for the time and effort to prioritise, document and present these projects.

G21 Annual General Meeting

A reminder that the G21 Geelong Region Alliance Annual General Meeting will be held at Lyndon Grove, this Wednesday, November 26 at 5.00pm. The agenda will include an overview of G21 activities and plans for 2009, the confirmation of two elected Directors and recognition of service of G21 contributors whose commitments concluded in 2008.

Of course it is also a great opportunity to meet with your Board and share a drink to celebrate the achievements of another big year. We look forward to seeing you there.

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.

The first edition of G21 e-News will be distributed to our global email list of more than 7000 individuals in the G21 Region in the next week or two. You will also receive a copy of this initiative that is designed to encourage community engagement and provide information to our broad community of progress on important regional projects.

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.

Your community thanks you for your continuing efforts.