North fights for fairness

GRASSROOTS FIGHT: Northern Geelong residents call for politicians to support their suburbs.

By Luke Voogt

Northern Geelong locals have vowed to take on election “pork-barrelling” that has led to “neglect” in their suburbs, following a recent grassroots meeting.

About 35 sporting club members, residents and stakeholders gathered for a new community action group, according to co-founder Jason Stolk.

“It’s a group to put some pressure on politicians who have continuously neglected Corio,” he said.

“We’ve just had enough!”

Mr Stolk slammed politicians funneling millions of dollars into Bellarine and Surf Coast sporting and lifesaving clubs during the election campaign while neglecting Geelong’s north.

“It makes you sick,” he said.

“It’s so far out of whack it’s mind-boggling.”

Both major parties have announced dozens of community grants for clubs in the marginal seat of Corangamite this election, but little for their northern Geelong counterparts.

“All their facilities are A-grade,” Mr Stolk said.

“Come out to some of the facilities in the north.”

Mr Stolk described Corio Cricket Club nets as “dangerous” and said North Shore Football Club’s lights had not been updated for decades.

He acknowledged election commitments to rail, health and City Deal funding for a convention centre in central Geelong.

“But it doesn’t really have an impact in the northern suburbs,” he said.

“It’s something where you can tick a box and say we’ve given this money to the Corio electorate.”

Both parties have yet to announce funding for council’s planned Northern ARC health hub despite lobbying from what Mr Stolk described as Geelong’s “top end of town”.

“It would inject a lot of confidence for everyone out this way and it’s something that’s long overdue,” he said.

Geelong’s council has pledged $20.6 million for the Norlane hub and is campaigning alongside 17 local organisations for $40 million in state and federal funding.

Mr Stolk also called for new TAFEs in Geelong’s north.

“If there’s a skills shortage in Australia, why aren’t we giving kids a crack and teaching them trades anymore?”

Mr Stolk vowed the group would ramp up its campaign to hold Geelong politicians accountable despite the election campaign nearing its end.

“We know it’s going to be difficult to make any real change before Saturday,” he said.

“But they need to stop with the pork-barrelling and get in there and roll up their sleeves.”


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