16 March 2017

A City Deal vital for our region

I am delighted to welcome Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, to Corangamite today to push our case for a City Deal for the Geelong region.

Securing a City Deal was a key part of My Plan for Corangamite in the lead up to the July federal election.

Today, I have convened a City Deal Roundtable meeting with Minister Taylor, local government representatives including local mayors and G21, and representatives from organisations such as the Geelong Chamber of Commerce and the Committee for Geelong.

City Deals between the Australian Government, a state or territory government and local governments will make our cities better places to live in and do business. Through City Deals, governments, industry and communities will develop collective plans for growth and commit to the actions, investments, reforms and governance needed to implement them.

Today’s Roundtable is all part of putting Geelong in the “box seat” to ensure we are ready to bid for a City Deal when applications formally open in the coming months.

By bringing together all levels of government, the private sector and the community, City Deals will provide a coordinated investment plan for our cities.

There is no doubt our region is suffering from a lack of long term planning.  Under Premier Andrews, there are very few major infrastructure projects in the pipeline.  Labor’s so called Geelong Authority is nothing more than a ministerial advisory council and the City of Greater Geelong is in a holding pattern until council elections later this year.

We are still waiting to see the business case for a Geelong convention centre which has taken far too long.

One of our biggest challenges is transport infrastructure.  Labor’s Western Distributor is a poor cousin to the East West Link which Labor shelved at a cost of $1.24 billion and the Regional Rail Link is rapidly deteriorating into an embarrassingly slow and overcrowded rail service.

I am proud to have championed the duplication of the rail line between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds to which the Turnbull Government has committed $1 million for planning and design.

There is rapid growth throughout southern Geelong, particularly in Armstrong Creek, which has placed enormous pressure on transport infrastructure.

Why then, after almost 12 months, has the Andrews Labor Government failed to produce a plan for the South Geelong – Waurn Ponds Rail Duplication Project?  We have heard absolutely nothing about this vital project.

A Rail Futures Institute report has revealed that after less than two years, Labor’s much hyped $3.65b Regional Rail Link will soon reach capacity leading to slower and more crowded train services. The link was built to cater for 18 trains per hour and, during peak, is already handling 17 trains per hour.

Now, more than ever, it’s vital that we work together to secure a City Deal for our region.

15 March 2017