By Luke Voogt
Geelong’s north has missed out in the latest Federal Budget, according to local municipal alliance G21.
The organisation’s chief executive officer Elaine Carbines slammed Federal Government’s lack of funding for a planned Norlane health hub.
“G21 is disappointed that there was no funding for the much-needed Northern ARC facility in northern Geelong,” she said.
Geelong’s council has earmarked $20.6 million for the $61.6 million Northern Arts, Recreation and Community (ARC) Health and Wellbeing Hub.
“That illustrates just how seriously the greater Geelong council considers the need in the northern suburbs,” Ms Carbines said.
“That area is amongst the most disadvantaged in our region. The $20 million committed by council to the project is a significantly large amount for any local government to find within its budget.”
Council had yet to secure state or federal funding for the remaining $41 million despite lobbying both governments since completing a master plan in 2015.
“(Council) needs other levels of government to help,” Ms Carbines said.
“It is upsetting that the federal government, in a budget spend of over $2.8 billion in our region, could not find $20 million for this much-needed project.”
The Northern ARC would integrate with a state-funded $33 million health facility, Barwon Health North, currently under construction near Waterworld, Ms Carbines said.
The Northern ARC would be a key element of the overall project, she said.
“The health, fitness, recreation, cultural and community facilities would generate an estimated $111 million in preventative-health benefits to that local community over 10 years. “
The Northern ARC site is located in the safe Labor electorate of Corio, currently held by Richard Marles.
The coalition has yet to announce a candidate to challenge Mr Marles for the seat.
“Decisions about funding desperately-needed projects such as the Northern ARC should be based on the needs of the people; not on whether it will result in votes on polling day,” Ms Carbines said.
She urged government and opposition to commit to the project.
“It’s not too late for the government, and the opposition, to include the Northern ARC as a commitment in the lead-up to next month’s federal election.”