Regional Development VictoriaRDA Barwon South West

State Government of Victoria

Regional Snapshot

Victoria's Barwon South West Region is fortunate to be endowed with a range of characteristics that position it well for the future. Home to Victoria’s ‘Second City’, Geelong, the region boasts access to a deep water port at Portland, an established rail network with interstate connections and several commercial airports. The picturesque Great Ocean Road is a feature of our region

The Barwon South West region of Victoria stretches from the tip of the Queenscliff Heads to the border of South Australia. The region encompasses the local government areas of Greater Geelong, Queenscliffe, Colac Otway, Golden Plains, Surf Coast, Warrnambool City, Moyne, Corangamite, Glenelg and the Southern Grampians.

The region’s population is growing rapidly. An additional 90,000 people are expected to call the Barwon South West home by 2026 taking the population from 355,000 to 445,000 – a growth rate in excess of the regional Victoria average.

Agriculture is a major employer in the Barwon South West. It is Australia’s largest dairy production region providing 25% of the national yield. The region hosts nearly 20% of Australia’s forestry plantations.

Major new energy facilities are in development and over the next five years approximately $8.7 billion worth of investment is planned in gas, wind, geothermal and wave energy power plants, creating up to 5400 construction jobs. The Otway Basin has significant natural gas reserves. When complete, the gas power station that is currently under construction in Mortlake will have the capacity to supply the equivalent of peak power to 250,000 homes. There are currently 85 wind turbines operating in the region with a further 675 wind turbines to be constructed.

Geelong has a longstanding manufacturing and engineering base and a promising future in industries such as aviation. Leveraging off the presence of its higher education and research institutions, the region is rapidly building capabilities in knowledge-intensive industries such as advanced materials, aquatic science, biotechnology, ICT and carbon fibre leading to fresh opportunities and challenges.

The Barwon South West region is highly regarded as a centre for excellence in education. With both government and independent options available at primary and secondary level. The region is home to TAFE and university institutions including RMIT in Hamilton, and Deakin University in Geelong and Warrnambool.

Our natural environment features internationally significant tourist destinations including the Grampians, the Otway’s, Geelong Waterfront, the Shipwreck Coast and the Great Ocean Road. Visitors to the Great Ocean Road account for more than half of all international overnight stays in regional Victoria.

Portland is home to one of Australia’s premier deep water ports. This port, together with the port of Geelong exports oil, grain, wood chips, alumina, mineral sands and fertiliser. Avalon Airport, located to the north of Geelong, presents an opportunity for growth in air freight.

Rail and road connections have been significantly upgraded in recent years, with a focus on links that will help the eastern part of the region to capture the benefits of its proximity to Melbourne (including the construction of the Geelong Ring Road).

The Regional Rail Link will construct up to 50 kilometres of new V/Line track between Werribee and Southern Cross Station, which will increase the reliability and frequency of services to Geelong. Other key transport projects include:

  • Princes Highway West– National network now extended to Colac;
  • Princes Highway West– duplication to Colac;
  • Green Triangle Freight Action Plan;
  • Inter Modal terminal at Warrnambool.

Read more about the Barwon South West region


Download the Barwon South West "Victoria’s region of opportunity" brochure, April 2013
Barwon South West: Victoria's Region of Opportunity (April 2013) (PDF 2.0 MB)


Regional Matters Spotlight

Last Updated: 15 April 2016