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Committee for Geelong's Weekly Addy Opinion Piece - We need a fair share of Canberra cash

The Committee for Geelong participated in the annual Geelong delegation to Canberra last week, as part of the Geelong Football Club's "FedCats" event.  The Committee collaborated with the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) and successfully raised our city's profile and sought Federal Government support on a range of projects and initiatives.   

Our delegation advocated on various issues including the importance of Avalon Airport's international status; the revitalisation of Central Geelong - including the redevelopment of GPAC,  the Royal Geelong Yacht Club's Waterfront Safe Harbour project and a convention centre - the importance of Back to Back Theatre, the completion of Simonds Stadium, defence opportunities and access to the National Broadband Network. 

We sought Federal Government support on CoGG's East West Traffic plan to remove heavy vehicles from the city centre, investment in the Northern ARC Health & Wellbeing hub, promoted support for Geelong's small businesses to upscale and advocated for the Runway Geelong initiative as an incubator for Geelong's startup ecosystem.    

The Committee's recently launched Winning from Second international research report was a key document used during meetings at Parliament House. The report was commissioned by the Committee and written by the United Nations Global Compact - Cities Programme and RMIT's Centre for Urban Research.  The research was supported by a range of industry and government partners, led by the Commonwealth Bank.  The report is the first independent and evidenced-based document since the major announcements made by Ford and Alcoa.  Our research positions Geelong well in a national context and numerous MPs are now eagerly awaiting the policy priorities arising from the report. 

Through this report, our nation's leaders were made aware of Geelong's substantial contribution to Australia's economy, and its significant position as Victoria's second largest city. The overarching recommendation of the Winning from Second report is to prominently position Geelong and engage in the development of a second city policy with the Victorian and Federal Governments. 

This is especially important as Geelong does not always receive its fair share of Federal funding.  For example, of the 97 projects listed in Infrastructure Australia's Infrastructure Priority List, only one referenced Geelong - the Murray Basin rail upgrade to service the ports of Geelong and Portland.    

Another recommendation of the Winning from Second report is for a co-ordinated approach to economic development and planning.  Collaborating with the CoGG on the Canberra delegation provided a solid base to begin the development of a unified set of strategic priorities for Geelong.  Going forward, CoGG, G21 Geelong Region Alliance, the new Barwon Regional Partnership and other groups are vital to this process.  As evidenced by the Winning from Second report, united advocacy in Canberra and Geelong speaking with one voice can lead to greater outcomes. 

Not every issue that is advocated for delivers an immediate win, but Federal Government investment in our city remains vital for Geelong's transformation.  Given this, the Committee will continue to collaboratively raise our region's profile to all levels of Government and highlighting the importance of investing in Victoria's second largest city. 

Rebecca Casson is the Committee for Geelong Chief Executive Officer. Follow the Committee for Geelong on Twitter @Comm4Geelong.




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Andy Mathers, General Manager, K-Rock/Bay FM

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Mathew Burns, Brewery Ambassador, Little Creatures