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The Barwon Regional Partnership: Our Highlights and Updates


The Barwon Regional Partnership has told Government what is important for our region.

Read on for an update on some of our key regional priorities:

$11.7 million to revitalise central Geelong

Revitalising central Geelong was one of our 2016 priorities and Budget 2017/18 included funding for this. Over the past 18 months, revitalisation infrastructure works in Central Geelong have included progress on the first stage of the Malop Street Green Spine, redevelopment of the laneways precinct and the construction of a rain garden at Johnstone Park.

$1.3 million to improve governance of the Great Ocean Road

At our 2017 Regional Assembly, the Minister for Tourism and Major Events announced the independently chaired Great Ocean Road (GoR) Taskforce.

The Victorian Government established the Taskforce to:

  • review the effectiveness of the current governance arrangements of the GoR and its landscapes;
  • consult extensively with Traditional Owners of Country, Responsible Public Entities and local communities;
  • make recommendations on governance reforms to boost tourism expenditure, maintain appropriate environment and landscape protections and better support local communities.

The Taskforce is being co-chaired by former Victorian Ministers for Transport Peter Batchelor and Terry Mulder and, among members, are the Regional Partnership’s Elaine Carbines (who is the Regional Development Australia representative on the Partnership, as well as being G21 – Geelong Region Alliance Chief Executive).

In March, the Taskforce released an issues paper outlining the key issues and proposing a new management model to strengthen protections of the landscape setting, improve the visitor experience, provide greater certainty in land-use planning and attract investment proposals that will benefit visitors and local communities.

The public has until 30 April to comment on the issues paper.

Increasing internet capacity in our schools

Enabling our young people through education and training was, and still is, a priority for the Partnership, while all Partnerships have been keen to push for improved digital connectivity in regional areas (with Government announcing, in Budget 2017/18, $45 million for regional digital connectivity).

Additionally, last year, the Government announced a major investment in digital upgrades for schools across Geelong, the Surf Coast and the Bellarine Peninsula.

Schools within the Barwon area have now started to receive their doubling of internet speeds as part of the $16.4 million state-wide investment to improve regional connectivity.

Pilot schools will be sought over Term 2 2018 to be the first to receive new virtual conferencing systems and upgraded Wi-Fi as part of the $67.9 million for better IT to support schools and students across Victoria.

The investment means all schools across Geelong, the Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula will have the same internet speeds as metropolitan schools.

The Geelong Project

It was great to see one of our Partnership’s priorities, the Geelong Project, featured on the ABC and in The Age. You can read about the early intervention strategies for youth at risk, the collaboration of support practitioners and how the success of the Project is being evaluated here.

These actions would not have been as extensive without the commitment of the members of the Barwon Regional Partnership.

They include Chair Kylie Warne, Deputy Chair Kean Selway and members Rodney Jackson, Matthew McDonald, Libby Mears, Bill Mithen, Anne-Marie Ryan, Nick Stanley, Elaine Carbines, Simon Phemister (State Government Representative), Keith Baillie (CEO Surf Coast Shire Council), Lenny Jenner (CEO Borough of Queenscliffe), Robert Dobryznski (A/CEO Colac Otway Shire Council) and Brett Luxford (A/CEO City of Greater Geelong).

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