In April 2019, the Morrison Government made an election commitment of $20 million for a Surf Coast aquatic facility including a 50 metre pool. While our Government’s preference is that this facility be built and run by Surf Coast Shire, this funding commitment was for the facility itself and not designated to council which had resolved not to proceed with an aquatic facility.

I am most disappointed that there has been a shortfall in state government funding such that the plan to construct a $38.5 million Surf Coast Aquatic Centre cannot currently proceed.

I have called on council to develop an alternate plan utilising $30 million in funding (see https://sarahhenderson.com.au/get-on-with-it-so-we-can-swim/) and am bitterly disappointed about the lack of progress.

The City of Greater Geelong, led by a can-do Mayor Stephanie Asher, has shown what can be achieved when councils put the community first. Greater Geelong is getting on with the work required to design, build and manage a 50 metre outdoor pool in Drysdale with $10 million in funding support from the Morrison Government. I have called on the State to fund a stage 2 indoor “program“ pool for Drysdale.

After so many years of failing to deliver this essential facility, Surf Coast Shire risks losing this Commonwealth funding support unless it urgently develops an alternate plan. One option is to follow the Drysdale model as embraced by the City of Greater Geelong.

Surf Coast residents have had enough. If there is no immediate action from council or no provision of further funding from the Victorian Government, I will be recommending to the responsible Minister that the funding be reallocated to an organisation willing to deliver this vital facility.

3 December 2020