Committee for Bellarine is seeking government funding to carry out an economic development strategy designed to future proof the region.
The strategy is the next step in the committee’s “Bellarine 2050: Our Place Our Future” initiative. The funding, which would be sought from the State Government’s Department of Planning and Community Development, would be spent on implementing the Future Proofing Geelong program and supporting and directing both public and private investment.
Committee spokesman Tom O’Connor said the committee had sought help from consultants in creating a funding proposal. However, support from the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG), as well as Greater Geelong planning group G21, was important to the success of the strategy.
The economic development strategy proposal was created after a community workshop held last year, in which locals expressed their concerns about how growth might change the Bellarine and what aspects of the region needed to be protected from expected future development.
By 2050, up to 80,000 people are predicted to be living on the Bellarine Peninsula, which is still largely rural.
The proposal put to the government will include the development of a plan to direct public and private investment on the Bellarine for a post-carbon economy, which would incorporate future proofing guidelines.
The strategy would also create ways to provide the community with a voice to express their vision for the Bellarine in 2050, as well as identifying opportunities and locations for investment in local “green” projects. Green projects are defined as those which promote food, water and energy security.
The strategy would reference and provide input into other plans and strategies underway in the region, including the CoGG’s Bellarine Peninsula Strategic Plan 2006-2013 and plans being created by the government and G21.
It was also possible the strategy could be utilised in updating the council’s strategic plan from 2006-2016 to a 2012-2050 document.
Underpinning the strategy would be the Future Proofing Geelong principals.
Future Proofing Geelong is a partnership program between the CoGG, the Environment Protection Agency Victoria, Barwon Water, Deakin University, Committee for Geelong, Geelong Manufacturing Council and the Geelong Chamber of Commerce.
It works on the principle of using a collaborative approach to finding innovative ways to adapt to challenges like climate change and economic adjustment.
Mr O’Connor said the next step was to seek the CoGG and G21 support, with the application being put to the government after that.