CoGG rethinks G21 exit

City of Greater Geelong mayor Trent Sullivan. (supplied)

Matt Hewson

After announcing plans to leave the Geelong Regional Alliance (G21) almost a year ago, Geelong council has decided to continue the partnership, albeit with a reduced funding obligation.

A joint statement from the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) and G21 said after “ongoing talks” an agreement had been reached, with the the City remaining a G21 member and providing $250,000 to the alliance rather than the previous sum of over $500,000.

When councillors mooted ending the City’s G21 membership last April the council was grappling with a growing list of budgetary headaches.

The cost of membership to the alliance was regularly mentioned in statements from councillors and City spokespersons, and a statement from G21 said it “understands the City’s decision relates to the increasing financial pressure it is experiencing”.

A year later, it seems a combination of budgetary belt-tightening and lower cost of participation has made G21 membership viable for the City again.

Geelong mayor Trent Sullivan said we are “stronger when we work together’’.

“As the fastest growing regional city in Australia, Geelong has a lead role to play in advocating for the collective interests of our broader region.

“Geelong’s new partnership with G21 aligns with Council’s new Advocacy Framework, which drives how we better strategically advance Greater Geelong and ensure its ongoing positive development.

“This improved and redefined approach recognises that working collaboratively will deliver better value for all our communities.”

G21 chair Melissa Stephens said the organisation welcomed the City of Greater Geelong’s return to the fold.

“Geelong is the capital of Australia’s most exciting and dynamic region,” Ms Stephens said.

“G21’s local government partners and 165 members look forward to a productive partnership which will guide good quality growth across all our communities in the years to come.”

Founded 22 years ago, G21 is a formal alliance between government, business and community organisations advocating for the Geelong region infrastructure and policy improvements and state and federal government funding.