Geelong has undergone a lot of change in recent times. A number of heavy manufacturing sites, such as the Ford factory, have either closed or are about to close. That means a lot of the engineering workshops feeding into the Ford plant will have a real challenge in terms of sustainability. The other challenge is that the sort of experience and skills needed to work in heavy manufacturing might not translate into the jobs that will hopefully become available in the new economy.
Despite this, a transition in the Geelong economy has been underway for a while. We have a carbon-fibre wheel manufacturing industry and there’s also a substantial health network in Geelong, which services the western centre of Victoria. Deakin University also has a number of campuses here and is continuing to expand.
Geelong is close to the beginning of the Great Ocean Road and the Bellarine Peninsula is a gourmet paradise.
Our tourist industry is also growing. Geelong is close to the beginning of the Great Ocean Road and the Bellarine Peninsula is a gourmet paradise. If you were coming to the region for business and had some leisure time, there are a number of wineries where you can enjoy fine cuisine and spectacular views over Port Phillip Bay. If you’re into bushwalking, there are various trails to follow and the beautiful Otway Ranges to explore. We also have the best surf beaches in Australia, such as Jan Juc and Bells Beach.
I do enjoy the views, and the wineries, but if you live in a small community you also have an obligation to contribute. I’m the secretary of our local football and netball club [Portarlington Demons]. These clubs give kids a sense of pride in their community growing up. Our club traces its origin back to 1875; things like this are worth preserving.
GEELONG FACT FILE
LOCATION: Gateway to the Great Ocean Road, 75km south-west of Melbourne.
POPULATION: about 220,000
LEADING INDUSTRIES: Geelong was once a major manufacturing hub led by the Ford plant, Alcoa and Shell. Healthcare is now the biggest employer, providing about 12,578 local jobs. But Geelong is also attracting a new breed of manufacturing. The federal government recently announced plans to invest $250,000 through its Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre to boost expansion of the city’s carbon fibre industry.