In 2013, I published a short letter titled ‘Dear Geelong, Don’t be Sad’.

I detailed my time as a student at Geelong High School, growing up on Myers Street in the Geelong CBD. My first job was a community liaison officer at the City of Greater Geelong, where I witnessed Geelong struggle through financial instability, closures and redundancies.

More importantly, I spoke of the resilience and tenacity that the Geelong business community demonstrated throughout those hardships. The premise of the letter was to encourage Geelong to not give up hope. To be aspirational about our future. I envisioned a bustling and thriving Geelong, built on a diverse economy of professional services, education, retail and culture.

Just six years later, we’re not far off. Our clever and creative city is starting to see the fruits of its labour – the hard work, optimism and vision from our business community coming to life.

The recently published Ipsos Public Affairs (Ipsos) Life in Australia report shows Geelong residents rated the region better on three of the ‘big six’ most influential liveability attributes, according to Australia. This included both:

“High quality health services” the Geelong average rating was 6.4/10 compared to the Australian average 6.3/10

“Affordable decent housing” the Geelong average rating was 5.1/10 compared to the Australian average 4.9/10

Further, residents of Geelong rated the region better on seven of the ‘next ten’ of the lesser influential liveability attributes, including both:

“High quality education opportunities” the Geelong average rating was 6.6/10 compared to Rest of Australian average 6.3/10

“Cultural facilities” the Geelong average rating was 6.0/10 compared to Rest of Australian average 5.4/10

Overall, Geelong performs better on 10 of the 16 liveability attributes. It’s great to see residents of Geelong back our city, which is why it’s so important that our business community continues to take the lead.

Let’s look at Geelong’s positive point of difference in the Ipsos report. Residents rated our “access to the natural environment” an average 8.1/10, compared to the Australian average of 7.4/10.

In addition, Geelong residents rated our “ability to view and participate in sports and recreation” a 7.3/10 compared to the Australian average of 6.8/10.

We’re lucky to host sports events like the Festival of Sails, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and Vic Open Golf which all put a significant boost in our visitor economy each year and leverages our access to the natural environment.

Are there ways the business community can continue to protect the heritage value of our natural assets, whilst leveraging our access to the natural environment for social and economic benefit?

And, can the business community encourage, or even collaborate, in attracting or leveraging sports and recreation more into Geelong?

The reality is, we are no longer a ‘Sleepy Hollow’. I don’t think we ever were. Geelong has faced significant challenges before and will continue to – but as we’ve seen, that only inspires our growth and vision exponentially.

Which is why it’s so exciting that I have been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the Committee for Geelong.

I look forward to leading an organisation which, in collaboration with their members, have been able to achieve great outcomes for the Geelong community.

I look forward to assisting the Geelong business community in their optimism and vision.

Dear Geelong, let’s do this!

Published via the Geelong Advertiser , 30/01/2019
Photo credit: Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine