By Mayor Bruce Harwood, City of Greater Geelong

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Mayor Bruce Harwood on the steps of City hall.

City's growth path

Geelong is experiencing major change, and while some might lament that old ‘Sleepy Hollow’ is no more, the future of our clever and creative city looks very bright.

The growth in our region is being driven by our appealing lifestyle and beautiful natural environment.

Thousands of people from Melbourne and elsewhere are realising that this is a great place to raise a family, with excellent schools and healthcare, less congestion, and the beach, bay and bush right on our doorstop.

Our population has now passed 250,000, and at the current growth rate will climb past 380,000 by 2036.

The good news is that our economy is growing and diversifying along with our population, meaning job opportunities are opening up in areas such as tourism, construction, advanced manufacturing, health, education and other sectors.

We need to continue to make sure we’re an appealing place for businesses to invest, and the revitalisation of central Geelong is an important part of this work. Above all, our CBD must be sustainable well into the 21st Century.

At a council level, it’s critically important that we invest in community facilities to meet the needs of our growing population around the region.

A record spend of $124.5 million on capital projects during the past financial year shows that we are placing a heavy emphasis on listening to the community’s needs and responding.

Modern, state-of-the-art new child and family centres at Highton and Armstrong Creek are shining examples, with $13.3 million facilities in Drysdale and Corio soon to be finished as well.

It will also be important for the council to represent the community strongly in talks with the state and federal governments about planning and funding major road and rail infrastructure.

We are continuing to lead a discussion on fast rail and the potential benefits for both cities of a 32-minute trip between Geelong and Melbourne. The service we’re proposing would also create a seamless ride to Tullamarine Airport.

It’s also clear that as more people come here to live, we will need public transport improvements to get people into and around Geelong itself.

There is much to be done, but if all three levels of government are willing to work together, we can set Geelong up for the prosperous, clever and creative future we all want.

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