Tom Roe | Election Issues
Council Candidate for Bellarine, City of Greater Geelong, 2017
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Election Issues

KEY ISSUES – WHAT NEEDS FIXING?

  1. Rail connectivity with Melbourne – it’s now a disaster, and a clear and present danger to support Greater Geelong’s on-going growth.
  2. The lack of relatively sophisticated employment opportunities available to our youth. We don’t want our youth to leave because they feel they have to choose between living in Geelong and realising their potential.
  3. Public transport availability and connectivity across the Bellarine – it is pathetic and must change.
  4. Lack of leading infrastructure spending to support population growth as it occurs – not after. Look at our road network – it is falling down in terms of capacity and maintenance. We need more community services and amenity support for our valuable short stay-tourism markets (e.g.: car parks and public transport to our beaches).
  5. There is still no clear plan for the Geelong region, notwithstanding the work done to develop the 30-year vision, A Clever and Creative Future which offers an aspirational vision, but no plan to get us there.
  6. My number one local pet hate are mosquitoes. We have to do better than the status quo preventative action. I’m sick of my children being walking blood banks.

MY KEY MESSAGES

  1. Geelong is growing strongly but our infrastructure is not keeping pace.
  2. We need to embrace growth, and articulate a plan, not just an aspirational vision. We must ensure we control our destiny, and have the tools to advocate and win the funding support to deliver the infrastructure and employment-creating opportunities we need.
  3. We need to ensure our youth have choice to realise their potential and aspirations in this region. They need to have the choice to stay, choice to leave and choice to return. Otherwise, too many of our young will join the established exodus out of the region and not return – robbing Geelong of a large portion of its great talent.
  4. We need to maintain our identity while accepting the critically important relationship with Melbourne, with its market scale, the opportunities the city provides and the pressure to accommodate its population growth. We need to seek the best of both worlds.
  5. We must improve our transport linkages, both public and private, make the best of our natural advantages, existing infrastructure, proximity to Melbourne and the endeavours of our forefathers, support our traditional industries and create the employment opportunities of the future.

IT IS UP TO US TO DETERMINE GEELONG’S FUTURE

We can’t keep continuing to put people into Melbourne and Sydney. This country needs more emerging cities. Geelong, Newcastle and Wollongong are the most likely prospects – with the Geelong region at the top of the list.

Geelong is the leading prospect because of its:

  • Close physical proximity to Melbourne
  • Incredible natural attributes
  • Existing heavy infrastructure
  • Relatively affordable housing
  • Access to water – our beautiful Bay!
  • Untapped potential
  • Current growth rate
  • Opportunity to benefit from government policy settings for regional Victoria, and
  • General desirability for people seeking a sophisticated lifestyle out of the hustle and bustle of a capital city

Geelong particularly appeals to people who are young, educated, aspirational, entrepreneurial and with money to invest in new business and employment, creating opportunities and affluence.

The reality is that Geelong is growing strongly now; even Council recognises that the city is growing at just under 2.5% per annum – in my view it is much stronger than that, more like 3.0 to 3.5% per annum.

Even if we were to accept just 2.5% per annum growth moving forward – a fraction of the 5% per annum that the City of Wyndham is growing at – Geelong will grow from 240,000 people now to around 850,000 in 50 years’ time. In 60 years, we will be over 1 million people. This could happen much earlier.

We can’t have uncontrolled growth and a lack of new infrastructure support. Nor can we deny growth. We need to accept that reality, plan for it and take control of our destiny. And for that we need a plan.

I want to drive a growth agenda with a clearly articulated plan that will give choice to our children and the generations to follow.

That’s why I’m running

GEELONG IS NOT A MELBOURNE SUBURB

We live in Geelong. We want and need to continue to have our own identity. We don’t want to become an extension of Melbourne. We don’t want to become the receptacle for Melbourne’s problems. Greater Geelong – including the Bellarine – is “greater” for a reason!

It goes without saying that we can’t ignore our critically important symbiotic relationship with Melbourne. This is what makes us different and it is a key part of our strength. Geelong is now a hybrid of both Melbourne and regional Victoria, as well as a bridge and gateway to the State’s west.

We need to take a more aggressive approach to advocate to governments, federal and state, about what we want Geelong to become.

We need to look forward.

We need to engage our politicians, lead them, open their minds, embolden and empower them, and ultimately get them to fight for us in this political landscape where there is limited capital and for which there is huge competition.

And we need to get the business sector to continue to invest in the region, not just in the industries of today, but the emerging industries of tomorrow. It is all interrelated.