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Labor must explain go slow on Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre

I am extremely concerned about the slow progress on the $174.2 million Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCEC) for which the state Labor government is solely responsible.

In February 2021, I called on the state government to urgently finalise its waterfront leasing agreement with Deakin University.   It is untenable that this agreement has not been concluded.

On 2 February 2021, the Geelong Advertiser reported: “A state government spokeswoman said the project’s detailed design work was due to take place this year before construction was expected to start “by early 2022.”

Following this report, in discussions with Regional Development Victoria, I raised concerns about this timeline including the “early 2022” construction start date which I said was not remotely credible, given the detailed design work is expected to take between 12 and 18 months.

Now we see more fudging of the state’s timeline with a commitment that “early construction works” will begin next year.  Given the appalling lack of progress on this project, it is hard to believe that any credible construction of the GCEC will commence in 2022.

Why, after three years, is there still no land use agreement with Deakin?  Where is the work which was promised this year on the detailed design?  We have not even seen a tender to appoint architects, let alone a final concept design.

The Convention and Exhibition Centre is a key Geelong City Deal project and is so important to our region’s economic recovery.

The state government needs to come clean with the people of Geelong about the mismanagement of this project.

5 October 2021

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