I commend Geelong’s key local organisations along with the City of Greater Geelong for collaborating on its funding priorities for our region. I look forward to continuing to work with these organisations to support their aspirations.
After leading the advocacy and securing critical Commonwealth funding for projects such as the Geelong City Deal, the Geelong rail duplication and Avalon’s international airport, I well understand how vital these funding priorities are to our city.
At this very difficult time for our nation, Prime Minister Morrison and our Government are firmly focused on how we can reinvigorate the economy and boost local jobs.
Below are my comments on a number of specific projects:
Geelong City Deal
With $183.8 million from the Morrison Government, the Geelong City Deal is funding a wide range of projects in the Geelong region and along the Great Ocean Road including a major development at the Twelve Apostles.
Our Government has ensured the City Deal funding agreement has the capacity to bring forward funding for shovel ready projects. I am pleased to see the progress with the Point Grey Lorne redevelopment, the new Queenscliff ferry terminal and Geelong waterfront upgrade. A number of the projects are in the planning and design phase which is the responsibility of the State Government and local councils. Our Government remains focused on delivering these projects including the Geelong convention centre as soon as possible.
Geelong rail duplication
As announced several weeks ago, I am delighted that stage 1 of the Geelong rail duplication is underway though it’s imperative that the timing of this project be brought forward by the State Government. A stage 2 project proposal received by the Commonwealth concerns only a request for funding for the planning and design works and not for any construction works. As I have previously made clear, the Morrison Government is anxious to bring forward funding for shovel ready infrastructure projects and I again call on the State Government to fast track this project.
Transport plan, Port of Geelong, Avalon Airport, Faster rail
I have long advocated for a regional planning body to plan our growth including major transport connections and support a fully integrated transport plan. I remain deeply concerned about some major planning failures across our region including the failure to properly capture land value when it is released for development.
The poor planning for the proposed Geelong Ring Road extension to the Bellarine and the State Government’s decision to delay the Barwon Head Road duplication have also undermined the liveability of our city. There are also serious issues with the State’s management and delivery of the Murray Basin Freight Rail project.
Of course, more than a year after we committed $2 billion to faster rail to Melbourne, we are still waiting for the State Government to deliver a plan and matching funding. With the decision to make the Port of Geelong the new home of the Spirit of Tasmania, this presents our city with some incredible opportunities including further infrastructure investment.
With $20 million for a new international terminal, the Morrison Government has long recognised the importance of Avalon Airport to our regional economy.
The Morrison Government has a very strong track record in delivering community and sports infrastructure to support health and well being. Whether it is upgrading local sports facilities, building aquatic centres or investing in a major affordable housing project, I have been proud to work with the community to secure vital funding. I am a very strong supporter of the Northern ARC Health and Wellbeing Hub and am working with council to support their aspirations.
The Morrison Government’s announcement that it will boost the Howitzer defence project for Geelong is a massive win for our region and the latest example of how we continue to drive investment and jobs into our region.
Deakin University remains one of Geelong’s great success stories. Our Government provides more than $640 million to Deakin each year. With no debt and very healthy cash and investment reserves, Deakin is well placed to transition out of its current COVID-19 challenges. We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Deakin.
1 July 2020