Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Minister for Planning, Justin Madden. Can the minister outline to the house any budget initiatives for the planning portfolio that will benefit the Geelong region?
Hon. J. M. MADDEN (Minister for Planning) — I welcome Ms Tierney’s interest in these matters, particularly those relating to her region, which she strongly represents in so many ways.
The government is conscious that the great thing about the opportunities and prosperity that Melbourne and Victoria offer — reinforced by the outstanding work of my colleague the Treasurer in his recent announcements — is that people can remain in Victoria, settle in Victoria and bring their families to Victoria from interstate or overseas.
The greatest endorsement Victoria can have is that people want to come and live here in big numbers.
We are a government that is committed to maintaining, protecting and preserving the lifestyle that ensures that Victoria is the best place to live, work and raise a family. The government is committed to delivering the right strategy that supports Victorian families with jobs, services and transport links.
I was pleased to announce on Tuesday, with the Treasurer’s permission, of course, the delivery of a $72.1 million budget package to support many of those goals. I was particularly pleased to announce that a significant number of these are taking place in Geelong. The most significant is a $25 million allowance to facilitate the development of a new environmentally sustainable Geelong government services building. This building will be delivered by the private sector at a total construction cost of something of the order of $90 million.
It will be built in the railway station precinct. It will co-locate the departments of Justice, Planning and Community Development, and Education and Early Childhood Development, as well as the Environment Protection Authority and Barwon Water. It will create of the order of 280 direct construction jobs in Geelong, and I understand more than 100 indirect jobs to support design, fit-out and associated activities.
This will have flow-on benefits to the local economy. It will also help attract more commercial development and particularly employment in the areas of finance, property, education and business services. It will also free up other existing sites in Geelong for those opportunities. The reuse of those sites will attract additional private sector investment in Geelong.
This announcement is a great reinforcement of the activity centre concept of greater economic opportunity and activity, particularly around that Geelong station precinct. The project will also provide the ability for people to travel, in a sense, against the commuter traffic, which might currently be a critical issue that people consider in terms of their employment.
As well as that, I was also pleased on Tuesday to announce a $10.4 million contribution over three years to bring the new Armstrong Creek community to life. This is really the growth corridor for the Geelong region. It will consist of 2500 hectares of land which is able to be developed in a primary growth corridor. This is being done in partnership with the Greater Geelong City Council, developers and the local community, and it will make sure that we get Armstrong Creek up and going.
We are seeing significant investment in the regions as well as in Melbourne. It is important to note that the population growth in these provincial centres complements the population growth that we are seeing in Melbourne, which is a hallmark of the success of this government and this Treasurer, because under their administration opportunity and prosperity abound in this state, and that is maintaining populations and bringing people to this state in droves.
I thank the Treasurer for that announcement. This is a great complement to encourage Victoria’s growth, because people not only in Victoria but elsewhere around the world know that Victoria is the best place to live, work and raise a family.