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Regional Development Victoria

Barwon Regional Partnership

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Our region
Our Regional Partnership: bringing you up to date
Our Regional Partnership: latest news
Our Regional Partnership members
Have your say
Our Regional Partnership Priorities
Budget 2018/19 outcomes

Click here to register to attend the 2018 Barwon Regional Assembly

Our region

From the famous Great Ocean Road coastline to the Otway forests, from rich farmland to the streets of Victoria’s biggest regional city, Geelong, our region spans spectacular and diverse landscapes.

We have a dynamic economy, with a strong manufacturing and processing sector, and great potential for growth in the professional services, tourism, international education, healthcare, Information and Communication Technologies and agribusiness sectors.

Our region includes:

Map of the Barwon partnership region

Our Regional Partnership: bringing you up to date

The Barwon Regional Partnership is one of nine Partnerships across the state, established by the Victorian Government, recognising that local communities are in the best position to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by their region.

We started work in 2016 and held our first Regional Assembly in Torquay in November 2016. Following this, we presented the priorities which came from our first Assembly to Government.

Our priorities covered areas including revitalising central Geelong, building tourism throughout the region, enabling our children and young people through education and training, improving the transport network across the region, transforming local industries, ensuring an inclusive, safe, healthy and resilient community, and protecting natural assets.

The 2017/ 18 Victorian Budget brought outcomes for the Barwon region including:
  • $110 million to fund the first stage of a massive new Surf Coast Rail Project, preparing the corridor for duplication between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds; the funding will also reserve land for a future line to Torquay;
  • $11.7 million in upgrades for central Geelong;
  • $1.3 million to improve governance of the Great Ocean Road, and
  • $45 million across the state for the Connecting Regional Communities Program to support digital initiatives such as broadband trials, digital agricultural applications and blackspot minimisation.

Find out more about the Victorian Budget 2017/18 outcomes for Victoria's regions

We held our second Regional Assembly in Geelong in October 2017.


The Partnership has since taken the learnings from our 2017 Assembly and distilled these into priorities to present to Government.

Our 2017 Regional Priorities can be found here.

Partnership newsletter

Barwon Regional Partnership newsletter - April 2018

Who are the Barwon Regional Partnership members?

Kylie Warne

Kylie Warne – Chair

Kylie Warne is the longest-serving President in the Geelong Chamber of Commerce's 163 year history. She has operated her consultancy, Brand Bureau for 10 years, and is particularly passionate about supporting regional businesses and entrepreneurs. Prior to establishing her business, Kylie worked for a range of multinationals. She is married with two boys aged eight and six, and wants to do her bit to ensure the Barwon region enables every individual to reach their potential.

Kean Selway

Kean Selway – Deputy Chair

Kean Selway is Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for Deakin University since 2010 and a member of the university’s executive since 2002.  Kean is currently Chair of the boards of Deakin Residential Services, Unilink Limited and the Bowater Trust.  He is also a member of The Geelong College Council and Chair of its Planning Committee.

Rodney Jackson

Rodney Jackson

Rodney Jackson has a strong background in health and indigenous issues and is currently Chief Executive Officer of Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative Ltd. The North Geelong-based cooperative operates a range of programs that span health services, early education, cultural, family and community, biodiversity and land management, social enterprises, Aboriginal arts, housing and justice.

Matthew McDonald

Matthew McDonald

Matthew McDonald is Chief Executive Officer of SeaRoad Ferries. Matthew has a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education from Monash University and Masters of Business Administration.  Matthew is passionate about the transport and tourism opportunities across the region.

Elizabeth Mears

Libby Mears

Libby Mears is Chief Executive Officer of Leisure Networks, a non-profit with a focus on sport, recreation, community inclusion and support for people with a disability. Libby is a Trustee of the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust and a former Surf Coast Shire Mayor and Councillor.

Bill Mithen

Bill Mithen

Bill Mithen is the Chief Executive Officer of the Give Where You Live Community Foundation, a philanthropic foundation that addresses disadvantage in the Geelong region. With a unique experience that covers corporate, SMEs, philanthropy and the community sector, Bill has a keen focus on equity and equality that enables everyone to participate in the Barwon Region's future growth and prosperity.

Anne-Marie Ryan

Anne-Marie Ryan

Anne-Marie Ryan is Chief Executive Officer of the Geelong Region Local Learning and Employment Network (GRLLEN) Inc. and is a member of both Victoria’s Manufacturing Skills and Training Taskforce and the Geelong Local Automotive Transition Taskforce. Anne-Marie is a board member of Give Where You Live and Creative Geelong Inc.

Nick Stanley

Nick Stanley

Nick Stanley is an investor, founder and active entrepreneur with a particular focus on the success of regional start-ups. Nick has a background in successful software commercialisation and entrepreneurship having founded three successful software businesses. Nick is also the founder and chair of Runway, an initiative helping entrepreneurs in regional destinations. Nick’s most recent success story was Tribal Campus (nee: Sky Software) of which he was a co-founder and which was acquired by Tribal Group PLC in March 2014. Nick was then appointed the Managing Director APAC of Tribal Group PLC in June 2016.

Elaine Carbines

Regional Development Australia representative:

Elaine Carbines

Elaine Carbines is the Chief Executive Officer of G21 Regional Alliance. She is also a Director of Barwon Water and Director of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) Victorian Branch. Elaine is a former member of state parliament and she is a Director of GForce.

Victorian Government representative:

Simon Phemister - Deputy Secretary, Economic Policy and State Productivity - Department of Premier and Cabinet

Local Government CEOs 
Keith Baillie

Keith Baillie – CEO, Surf Coast Shire Council

Keith Baillie grew up in Geelong and spent much of his youth on the Surf Coast.  Keith spent the first 20 years of his career in the commercial sector, with roles in project management, information technology and financial management. Keith joined local government in 2007, after being appointed CEO of the Shire of Campaspe. Keith became CEO of Surf Coast Shire in January 2015. He is a Fellow of CPA Australia, and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Kelvin Spiller

Martin Cutter – CEO, City of Greater Geelong

Martin Cutter is a highly-skilled business leader and operational, finance and corporate services executive, with more than 14 years’ experience in local government and more than 22 years’ experience in private business. 

His previous appointment at the City of Melbourne included Acting Chief Executive Officer, Director of City Business and Director of Corporate Services. 

Prior to entering local government, Mr Cutter was Chief Financial Officer and General Manager at Australian River Co Limited, held various roles at ANL Limited, including Chief Financial Officer and General Manager Shipping Finance, and was a Senior Manager at KPMG. 

Tony McGann

Peter Brown – CEO, Colac-Otway Shire Council

Prior to joining Colac Otway, Mr Brown was CEO at Horsham Rurual City for seven years. He also served as Director of Corporate Strategies with the Warrnambool City Council and also Chief Executive of Wimmera Uniting Care. 

Mr Brown grew up in the Wimmera and chose to return to the region after attending Latrobe University, taking a position with the former City of Horsham in 1982. 

He served with the then City of Horsham and was Finance Manager at time of amalgamations in 1995, and went on to work for the newly formed Horsham Rural City from 1995 to 2002 as General Manager of Corporate Services and later, General Manager of Corporate Services and Economic Development.

Lenny Jenner

Lenny Jenner – CEO, Borough of Queenscliffe

Lenny Jenner has been CEO of the Borough of Queenscliffe since October 2008 and was previously Director of Community Services with the Golden Plains Shire.  Lenny’s career includes professional roles in sport and recreation, academia, disability services, youth work, nursing and senior management roles in State and Local Government.  Formal qualifications include a masters degree in social policy, undergraduate degrees in education and recreation and a general nursing qualification.

Have your say

Our Barwon Regional Partnership engage page is the place to go to let us hear your views or to contact the Partnership.

Barwon Regional Partnership 2017 Priorities

As shown in the table below, in 2017 our priorities aligned under 7 themes: Education and Training, Health and Safety, Industries and Jobs, City and Town Centres, Transport and Visitor Economy and Natural Assets and Climate Change.

Respect and protection of the culture and places of the region’s first people is important to all themes and key for our sense of place.

All of the priorities have been presented to government with the ones highlighted in red being our top priorities.

Themes Outcomes Priorities
1. Enabling our children and young people through education and training Higher educational aspirations, engagement and achievement rates particularly in our disadvantaged communities Internet capacity and access to digital learning and cloud based resources to improved educational and future job outcomes
Improve the learning and development of vulnerable children in the early years by building parents’ capacity as first educators through well targeted programs and support
Raise educational aspirations and improve educational engagement and achievement rates of school aged children and young people particularly in disadvantaged communities
Maximise the opportunity for young people to access meaningful, sustainable future focused work
Ensure successful post school transitions for all young people by addressing factors which create barriers and entrench disadvantage
2. Transforming our industries and jobs for the future  
Scaled up enterprises attracting entrepreneurial businesses and decentralised service sectors to the Region Leveraging Barwon’s regional competitive advantages to grow industry and jobs
Addressing enabling infrastructure barriers to existing and future investment opportunities
Examination of Barwon’s existing and future skills demand requirements focusing on innovation and productivity
3. Ensuring an inclusive, safe, healthy and resilient community for us all
People, disadvantaged by birth or place, can break the cycle Housing and homelessness
Best practice, early interventions and place based approaches
Community Safety
4. Making our city and town centres places people want to live and visit Our city and town centres are attractive places for residents, visitors and industry Revitalise Central Geelong to thrive and be recognised locally and globally
Support the role that small town centres play in servicing local residents and attracting visitors to the region
5. Improving the transport network across the region Effective and efficient transfer of goods Increase the rail service volume between Geelong and Melbourne, the frequency of rail services between Geelong – Colac – Warrnambool and establish the public transport connection to Torquay/Surf Coast
Further develop transport infrastructure and services planning to enable a truly integrated, accessible, progressive and sustainable private, public and active transport network, joining key population growth areas of Geelong, Bellarine and Surf Coast
To enable more productive use of train travel for commuters between the Barwon Region and Melbourne
6. Building the visitor economy throughout the region The Great Ocean Road is the spine for a highly acclaimed transformative visitor experience Actively contribute to the development and management of the Great Ocean Road
Support and facilitate transformative visitor economy projects for the Barwon region
Support investment in related tourism assets and to leverage the Great Ocean Road
7. Protecting our region's natural assets and reducing the impacts of climate change Climate change and sea level rise impacts are understood and evidence-based mitigating actions in place
Mitigate the impacts of climate change and sea level rise
Protect our high value natural assets and maintain the region's biodiversity
Advance new technologies and innovation in the generation and application of renewable energy and energy storage

Barwon Partnership priorities supported in the Victorian Government Budget 2018/19 include:

  • $1.3 million for Project Runway, a collaborative pilot entrepreneurial ecosystem project led by Runway Geelong to grow industry and jobs and support scale-ups, innovation and research
  • $1.6 million for Skilling the Bay to raise educational attainment levels and improve pathways to employment in the Geelong area
  • Funding to expand the Geelong Project to four more government secondary schools to address student wellbeing, homelessness and disengagement.
  • $153.2 million for the Geelong City Deal, including funding towards implementation of the Shipwreck Coast Master Plan Stage 2, development of the Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre and the revitalisation of central Geelong
  • A share of $25 million for continuation of the Community Crime Prevention Program to fund local crime prevention initiatives, develop positive promotion of local communities and promote positive results of local crime prevention projects
  • $4.8 million to prepare the Barwon region for climate change with a focus on emergency management, maintenance and renewal of coastal infrastructure on public land, and landscape scale adaptation
  • A share of $11 million for the Victorian Mobile Project Round 4, building on the Government’s existing commitment to remove mobile black spots in regional Victoria

Click here to download the Barwon Regional Partnership 2018/19 Budget Fact Sheet for more information. (PDF 478.4 KB)

Find out more about the Victorian Budget 2018/19 outcomes for Victoria's regions

© Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, State Government of Victoria

Last Updated: 10 July 2018