Snapshots - October 2008

October 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.

The last six months have been extremely hectic, partly because of the increased emphasis on delivering projects but also because the Rudd government has been reviewing many of its programs and structures. We have been actively working to influence these to the benefit of our region.

Our People

At its most recent meeting, your Board appointed Michael Malouf to join the G21 Board as an Appointed Director. Michael is the CEO of Barwon Water. This appointment recognises the critical importance of water as an issue in the region with several of our projects targeting this area. Michael also has a wide range of experience and skills that will be of immense value to the Board. Appointed Directors serve a 12 month term and are eligible for reappointment.

The G21 office is also changing. Following the recent departure of Simone Beekmans to pursue a career opportunity, Lauren Fanning has joined the G21 office. Lauren comes to us from the Gordon Institute and, besides her office skills, also has a degree in communications. This is already proving invaluable in helping us to expand our communications efforts.

You may also be aware that Austin Paterson who managed the Barwon Primary Care Forum and its integration with the G21 Health and Wellbeing Pillar, was headhunted to be CEO of the RE Ross Foundation. This is a dream job for Austin and having a friend of G21 in charge of a major charitable foundation somewhat offsets the loss of his talents and networks. Taking on the expanded role of G21 Health and Wellbeing Director will be Anne Somerville who is also a local and with extensive experience in the field. Anne will join us on 27 October.

Regional Marketing Project

A G21 Marketing Taskforce has devised and is implementing a G21 Region Marketing Campaign. The importance of promoting the G21 Region to potential skilled workers and potential investors was highlighted in the G21 Geelong Region Plan.

You would all have seen the first initiative – a colour liftout in The Age on the weekend of 11/12th October. The liftout was the first of four which will appear over the next few months and targets Melbourne based investors and skilled workers. The latter group is currently critical given the relocation of the TAC to Geelong’s CBD and the Satyam facility at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus. Each of the liftouts will have a slightly different focus and will be interspersed with Calendars of Events in the G21 region.

The importance of this initiative is demonstrated by the fact that funding was provided by a wide variety of our partners. These included 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, VLine and our Regional Councils.

Due to the overwhelming interest of partners in this initiative, the taskforce is already working on a second phase which will include video clips that can be used in future advertising as well as future marketing opportunities. This will be an ongoing activity.

Impacts and opportunities from the Geelong Ring Road

G21 recently commissioned a study on the impacts of the Ring Road. This is one of the largest infrastructure projects the region has seen at over $400m and will have significant consequences for the region. This study was intended to provide a better understanding of these consequences.

The work was funded by the City of Greater Geelong, G21, the Committee for Geelong and RDV. It focuses on likely growth areas as a result of the development of the Ring Road and the results will inform Council and agency planning processes for services and infrastructure, helping us to get ahead of demand rather than playing catch up.

The study also looks at potential industry opportunities arising from the development. Again, this will inform Councils when they look at land rezoning and help target investment attraction efforts. Of more strategic interest, the study will help us understand who is likely to relocate to the Ring Road. This may well result in freeing up of some large sites with redevelopment potential for higher and better uses.

Briefings have been offered to each of our partner Councils prior to the public release of the final report in November to coincide with the opening of the first two stages of the Ring Road. A very well attended consultation session was held with interested parties when the first cut of the modelling was available. A follow up session will be held in November and we are already receiving enquiries because of the potentially wide ranging impact of the road.

Australian Masters Games

Another G21 backed project that will be gaining added prominence in coming months is the 12th Australian Masters Games, to be held from 20 February to 1 March 2009. The Games will involve 70 sports across 80 different venues across the region.

In addition to its health and social benefits, this event will have a significant economic impact for the region. Our goal is to maximise these benefits by attracting over 12,000 participants to the Games, which would be the highest participation rate of any Masters Games.

The Masters Games will potentially return to our region, with the vast economic benefits, but only if we can demonstrate a high level of participation in these upcoming games. Please promote the event to your networks and encourage broad community participation.
Further information can be obtained from project Champion and G21 Board member Ross Synot on 0411 131081.

Innovative Regions Centre

You may be aware that Minister Kim Carr visited the region last month to open the Innovative Regions Centre at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus. This was an election promise that has now been delivered with a $20m budget over the next five years.

The Centre’s programs are still being refined and at the request of the Federal Government’s Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, G21 brought together a number of interested parties including the City for Geelong, Geelong Manufacturing Council, Deakin University, Geelong Chamber of Commerce and the Committee for Geelong to identify a number of worthwhile projects that can be funded from this new Centre.

This cooperative approach identified nine projects that can be progressed quickly as well as several that might be eligible for funding in future rounds.

Alternative Energy and Biomass
BioGeelong Cluster Development
Career Development and Skill Service
Crumbed and Formed Seafood Product
Engineering Opportunities Cluster
Innovation and Commercialisation Network for Industry
Regional Industry Supply Chain Program
Satyam Supply Chain Analysis and Investment Attraction Strategy
SME Business Advisory Boards

We will keep you informed of progress.

G21 Priority Projects

You will also be aware that G21 has been working with a State Government Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC) set up by the Premier following his launch of the G21 Geelong Region Plan in September 2007. The aim was to help advance projects in the region. This has already proven useful in situations where several government agencies have overlapping responsibilities. These overlaps can create delays and uncertainty. This has already been seen with some water and coastal issues.

The IDC is also a channel into the State Government’s budget processes and we have been working with them to develop a ‘Top 10’ set of projects for the region. These were drawn from the G21 Geelong Region Plan. At a meeting scheduled for 19 November, these projects will be formally presented and a State Government agency assigned as a Champion for each.

Eddington Report

As you know, gaining support for projects often takes considerable time and effort to sell the merits of our ideas. In recent months, this has required submissions to a variety of groups.

G21 prepared a submission to the State Government’s Eddington Report, more formally titled The East-West Link Needs Assessment. The Report focused on transport links to Melbourne’s western suburbs with the goals of boosting the prospects of this region of Melbourne and dealing with some serious transport issues, particularly the Westgate Bridge.

G21 took the opportunity to point out that these transport links had a major impact on the ability to travel between Geelong and Melbourne and thus were also of major significance to this region. We emphasised the importance of upgrading the frequency, quality and reliability of the rail links and of dealing with the blockages at the Westgate Bridge.

This also provided an opportunity to point out that generating more jobs in Geelong will help ease the pressures by reducing the need for residents in the region to commute to Melbourne for work. It could attract many workers to the region from areas around Point Cook. This would better use the existing road and rail as well as taking load off the Westgate Bridge.

The Department of Transport has acknowledged our arguments in its formal response. G21 has also been informed that the State Government has identified these transport links as being critical and put them forward as a target for funding from the Infrastructure Australia Fund (see also below).

Victorian Regional Tourism Strategy

As you may know, the State Government is developing a new Regional Tourism Strategy. Tourism is obviously of great importance to the region, providing a major boost to the economy and underpinning many jobs. Since many of these jobs are entry level, they are a vital source of employment for our young people and potentially to many who are affected by the downturn in other traditional areas of employment. As a result, G21 prepared a response to this draft Strategy.

Our emphasis was on major projects such as the Convention and Exhibition Centre and upgrades to tourism trails and harbours from Osborne House to Apollo Bay, that would bolster tourism and thus create jobs in the region.

Affordable Housing

Another area of frenetic activity of late has been affordable housing. G21 is keen to improve housing affordability in the region for both social and economic reasons. We are all aware of the problem in gaining a workforce in towns such as Lorne because of the cost of housing. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg and the affordability of housing is at an all time low.

The G21 Affordable Housing Taskforce chaired by Pat Semmens has moved on two fronts to tackle this issue. Firstly, you would be aware that G21, with the support of the City of Greater Geelong and our local MPs Darren Cheeseman and Richard Marles, staged a forum on the issue at which both Federal Minister Tania Plibersek and State Minister Justin Maddern spoke.

In parallel with this, G21 sought expressions of interest for one of the eight current Registered Housing Associations to partner with the region in accessing State and Federal funds and delivering projects in the area. We are currently finalising an agreement that will see the registering of a local subsidiary of the successful tenderer and opening of a local office. Several projects are already being developed.

Housing Associations are an interesting approach to this issue. During our interviews, they pointed out that they took a holistic view of their clients. For example, they support activities that encourage a sense of community and often employed their clients to provide services in their developments.

G21 has also submitted an application for funding under the Federal Housing Affordability Fund that would see land releases brought forward in a number of projects across the region. This has the potential to greatly reduce land costs and thus the costs of building a home in these locations. Find the applications details on the G21 website

Infrastructure Australia

On the same day, G21, the Committee for Geelong and the City of Greater Geelong also made a joint submission to Infrastructure Australia on key targets for the $20bn plus of funds that is to be spent on national infrastructure.

This program targets very large, network infrastructure that will improve the efficiency of our cities and economy. Our submission, highlighted upgrades to rail, road, port and airport facilities in the region.

You will all have seen or read the recent statements by the Prime Minister on this topic and the Government’s intention to fast track such projects as a means of providing a stimulus to the economy.

Regional Development Australia

Yet another Federal Government initiative has been to review the way in which they approach development assistance to the regions. This was warmly welcomed by G21 which presented evidence to a Parliamentary Committee examining the topic.

Our submission strongly argued that all regions are different and thus the role of the Commonwealth should be to support the regions in delivering their priorities rather than one-size-fits-all programs designed in Canberra.

Not surprisingly, this was echoed by many regions and the formation of Regional Development Australia seems to be a move in this direction.

The Local and Community Infrastructure program that this body will oversee has yet to commence and will be a test of whether these arguments have been adopted.

Local Learning & Employment Networks

At a State level G21 also made a submission to the State Government in response to a Review of Local Learning & Employment Networks (LLENs). The draft recommendations were seen as potentially damaging to what has proven a highly valuable and effective local organisation. It is pleasing to see that these recommendations have been withdrawn.

G21 Annual General Meeting

Your Board will hold the next G21 Geelong Region Alliance AGM on 26 November at 5.00pm. This is an opportunity to hear more detail on what the G21 Alliance has achieved over the last 12 months, what the focus will be for the coming year and an opportunity to share a Christmas Drink.

The AGM is also an opportunity to fill Elected Director vacancies. This year Michael King and Ross Synot’s terms as Elected Directors expire. Michael King has indicated his interest in standing for re-election and a number of other persons have also indicated their interest in standing for election at the AGM. Nominations for election to the position of Elected Director of G21 must be submitted in writing to the G21 CEO by 5.00pm on Friday 5 November. Nomination forms are available from the G21 office.

More details about the G21 AGM will follow with your invitation but in the interim please pencil this into your diary.

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, Chairman of IDC, senior manager with regional councils, senior manager with RDV, G21 Member, G21 Pillar participant, G21 board member or member of the media (a list of some 300 individuals or organisations). If there are people in your organisation or network that you think should be aware of this email please feel free to pass it on to them.

Shortly, we will also be distributing G21 e-News to our global email list of more than 6000 individuals in the G21 Region. You will also receive a copy of G21 e-News. The occasional distribution of G21 e-News will encourage community engagement and provide information to our broad community of progress on important regional projects.

We trust that our communication with you is not only informative but also encourages us all to keep working together to improve people’s lives in the G21 Region.

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

Your community thanks you for your continuing efforts.