Northern ARC is a ‘must fund’ project

Northern ARC is a ‘must fund’ project

Our region has fared well with recent government and opposition funding announcements and election promises, however sadly one much-needed project has missed out again. Northern ARC Health and Wellbeing Hub, proposed for the Waterworld site in North Geelong, would be a key element of a community health and wellbeing hub. That’s why leaders across Geelong gathered at the proposed site last Tuesday (23 April) to call on politicians from both sides of the political spectrum to commit funds to the project.

Above photo: L-R: Bill Mithen (Give Where You Live Foundation), Cr Jim Mason, Lyn Morgan (Northern Futures), Mark Edmonds (Geelong Chamber of Commerce), Lachlan Hodgson (Leisure Networks), Mike McKinstry (GenU), Cr Trent Sullivan, Thys Heyns (Viva Energy), Dale Jennings (North Shore Residents Association), Cr Kylie Grzybek, Cr Ron Nelson, Rob Birch (Gforce), Mayor Bruce Harwood, Jennifer Cromarty (Committee for Geelong), Deputy Mayor Peter Murrihy, Elaine Carbines (G21), Martin Cutter (City of Greater Geelong).
 
The Northern ARC facilities would cost $61.6 million and integrate with Barwon Health North; a $33 million health facility being built by the state government on the site. Norlane and Corio have double-digit levels of unemployment; higher than both the state and national averages. They are among the most socially disadvantaged areas in the nation.
 
A federal commitment of $20.5 million would add to the $20.6 million already pledged by the City of Greater Geelong, with a further $20.5 million also required from the state government to see the project fully funded. 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 federal government has announced over $2.8 billion of projects for our region recently but - at the time of writing - has not found $20.5 million for this much-needed project.  Nor has the federal opposition.
 
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. G21 firmly believes a prosperous regional community should care for the well-being of all of its members.  That’s why it is important that we as a regional community call on our politicians to support the Northern ARC.
 
It’s not too late for the government and the opposition to include the Northern ARC as a commitment in the lead-up to the election. That was the unanimous message from leaders gathered on Tuesday at the Waterworld site.