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Vision Australia interview with host Anna-Marie Shew – 17 May 2021

Are there any footpath works underway in the region at the moment?

  • There are quite a few to list:
    • Works to most of both sides of Cranstoun Court (Godfrey Street to end), Thomson. Set to be finished 24 May to 2 June.
    • Most of both sides of Godfrey Street (Cranstoun Court to Ormond Road), Thomson. To finish 24 May to 2 June.
    • Over in Norlane, there are works to most of both sides of the footpaths on Gresham Street (Olympic Avenue to Corrin Court / Holdsworth Court). Set be finish up 21 - 28 May.
    • In Bell Post Hill, works to both sides of Jedda Street (Rollins Road to Ward Street) should have finished up last Friday.
    • South side of Lily Street (Woorayl Street to Shannon Avenue), Hamlyn Heights. Set to be finished by this Thursday.
    • Both sides of Sheridan Street (Hamlyn Avenue to Drysdale Avenue to Marathon Avenue), Hamlyn Heights. Set to finish up around 11 June.
    • An existing 1.5-metre-wide path is being removed and replaced on the south side of Mackey Street, North Geelong. This 400-metre section of new shared path will be 2.5 metres wide and is part of the Shared Trails Masterplan. The City’s expecting to start works in early June and will take a couple of weeks to deliver.
    • A new footpath will be built on the north side of Fellmongers Road (McAllister Street to Boundary Road), Breakwater, most likely from next Monday will take 1-2 weeks to complete.
    • A new shared path, 3 metres wide, will be built on Scenic Road (Barrabool Road to Leigh Road), Highton during June.
  • Please remember that the weather can impact the expected delivery times.
  • The City team carries out about 1,000 footpath repairs each year to improve the safety of our footpath network, on top of the typical major projects I’ve just listed.

The Draft Budget for 2021-22 is still out for consultation, how much is allocated to footpaths in the Draft Budget?

  • We have $38.3 million set aside for footpaths, roads, kerb and channel works and drains.
  • This is part of the our biggest ever capital works program, worth $687 million over four years.
  • Projects include:
    • Footpath improvements at St Helens Park
    • Extending the footpath on Murradoc Road, St Leonards by two metres, repaving works.
    • Wide footpaths at the new Rippleside Inclusive Playspace for children who are blind or low-vision, as well as for those in wheelchairs or mobility devices.

Potential follow-up questions:

  • Would it be fair to say council is playing catch up in terms of building new paths, given developers in the past haven’t been required to build them?
  • Are footpaths now automatically included in the design of new housing lots?

I spotted a significant amount of cash for the Shared Trails Master Plan, can you tell us more?

  • That’s right, we’ve set aside $5.35 million for shared trails over the next four years.
  • The 10-year plan is about creating a fully connected network of shared trails across the region.
  • I’ve been heavily involved in making this a reality, as chair of the Shared Trails portfolio.
  • [Opportunity to discuss what this has involved, meetings, site visits etc]
  • These paths aren’t just for runners, cyclists, prams and horses, we want them to be as accessible as possible to all – including those with disabilities.
  • Access to shared trails also increases physical activity and connections between clubs, schools and social groups.
  • The funding would see the organisation get stuck into detailed investigations into the feasibility of major trails earlier than planned.
  • This would include looking into the possibilities surrounding new connections between townships on the Bellarine.
  • Construction of a new trail linking 13th Beach Surf Life Saving Club to Barwon Heads is already underway, as well as upgrades on Geelong’s Bay Trail.

There might be a perception that it might not be difficult to build new paths and fix existing ones, what do you say to that?

  • It’s actually quite a challenging process.
  • There’s a lot to think about when it comes to sensitive natural environments and considering Wadawurrung land.
  • There’s also private land or land managed by government authorities to remember, as well as underground infrastructure that the City doesn’t manage.
  • Despite this, the councillors are very excited to implement this very important master plan.

Any other stand out items in the Draft Budget that you’d like to mention?

  • I’m the chair of the Rural and Coastal portfolio and Rural and Peri-Urban Advisory Committee, so the funding for a potential Regional Livestock and Information Exchange is significant to me.
  • We’re proposing $150,000 in 2021-22 ($4.15 million over three years) for the exchange.
  • The funding is dependent on the outcomes of a recent feasibility study, which will be released soon.
  • Consultation covered proposed options to support farmers, hobby farmers and landholders in the G21 region as they run their properties and get stock to market.
  • We’re looking for a 21st century solution and the exchange could help fill a gap created by the closure of the Geelong Saleyards in 2017.
  • There’s an increasing number of small farmers and landholders and they’re not finding it practical to head to Ballarat, Colac and other areas for their livestock sales.
  • The survey also looked into how peri-urban and rural farmers can be supported to manage weeds and pests, and access relevant information.
  • Understanding how to ensure these properties remain healthy and viable is important.
  • Living on a lovely property in Mannerim has helped me stay informed on these agricultural and environmental issues.

Potential follow up questions:

  • Any other items that you’ve spearheaded in the Draft Budget?
  • Do you think there’s an even spread of funding across the region?
  • What’s involved in putting together a budget for a region with nearly 265,000 residents?


There’s another significant document that’s linked to the Draft Budget?

  • That’s right, it’s important Our Community Plan 2021-25 doesn’t get forgotten amongst the budget talk.
  • This plan has helped to inform the budget and puts the health and wellbeing of our community at the forefront of everything council does.
  • We need to make sure we’re sending funding to where the community needs it most.
  • One of the main focuses of the plan to do make sure health and community initiatives are accessible to all, including those who are blind or have low-vision.
  • That means making sure new buildings have things like tactile signage, that there are well-maintained footpaths and disability parking.
  • We want everyone to feel welcomed and valued.

How can listeners get involved?

  • Feel free to make a submission on whether you think the plan is inclusive and will make a difference to your life.
  • Head to yoursay.geelongaustralia.com.au for both the Community Plan and the Draft Budget.
  • You can also call Customer Service on 5272 5272 and request hard copies be sent to you.
  • The City team is receiving submissions on both documents until May 25.

Last Wednesday, Geelong farewelled Frank Costa at a state funeral at GMHBA Stadium, did you attend?

  • I did, along with Mayor Stephanie Asher, Deputy Mayor Trent Sullivan, Cr Anthony Aitken, Cr Peter Murrihy and Cr Ron Nelson.
  • [Opportunity to mention personal observations about the service, eulogies, crowd attendance, patrons wearing Cats gear? etc]
  • It was very fitting that the former Cats president and footy nut was farewelled at the stadium.
  • Frank was a giant in Greater Geelong, helping to rebuild the team from financial disarray into the powerhouse that it is today.
  • He was one of the region’s most successful businessmen, building an empire from just the one store on Moorabool Street.
  • Frank was deeply committed to progressing the city and supporting its people.
  • He cared deeply about his community and knew that his immense wealth could make a real difference.
  • He shared his money with many organisations across the sport, social welfare, health, volunteering and educational sectors.
  • [Opportunity to discuss your personal dealings with Frank (if any), anecdotes etc]
  • My heartfelt condolences to his wife Shirley Costa, eight children, 24 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Have community members approached the Council about ways to remember Frank?

  • We have had a request for a statue to be put up in honour of Frank.
  • We’re not surprised that ideas are coming forward and we welcome suggestions from the community to permanently honour his legacy.
  • Anyone is welcome to make a suggestion for a plaque or memorial on council land.

I imagine there would be some rules around who can be honoured?

  • Yes, there are.
  • Search ‘Plaques and Memorials Policy’ to find the form to submit a suggestion.
  • The policy has some guidelines about who can be honoured with a plaque or memorial…based on the wording, a strong argument can be made that Frank fits the criteria.
  • Any suggestion would need to be considered in relation to a range of factors, including the location, does it impact on public accessibility, how it’s being funded etc.
  • We would need to go through a thorough process, including consultation with the community, before making a decision…but we are certainly open to starting that conversation.

Potential follow up questions:

  • What sort of legacy has Frank left for the Greater Geelong community?
  • What lessons can we learn from Frank’s generosity and strong character?
  • Will we ever see another Frank Costa type figure in the region?

Anything of note happening on the Bellarine Peninsula – your ward – that we should know about?

  • We do have an upcoming council meeting happening at Portarlington Parks Hall on 87 Newcombe Street, on Tuesday 25 May.
  • It’s the second of four council meetings at community-based locations.
  • It’s a great opportunity to participate if you live locally, without the need to travel to City Hall.
  • We have a meet-and-greet with councillors from 5:30pm, where you can meet your local representatives and have a chat.
  • The meeting kicks off from 6pm and will be live streamed for accessibility.

I hear council’s Listening Post sessions are still happening?

  • Yes, there are still two left this month.
  • If you live in or around the CBD in the Brownbill ward, you can meet Cr Sarah Mansfield, Cr Eddy Kontelj and Cr Peter Murrihy this Saturday 22 May.
  • They’ll be meeting on Pakington Street, on the grassed area outside Town Hall between 10-11am.
  • After that, they’ll head to the front entrance of Newcombe Central Shopping Centre at 11.30am-12.30pm.
  • If you’re from the north of our region, meet Cr Kylie Grzybek and Cr Anthony Aitken at the Corio Customer Service Centre next Wednesday 26 May, 2.30pm to 3.30pm.

What do you hope the community will get out of these sessions?

  • The Listening Posts are a great chance to ask questions about what’s planned in the Draft Budget for your area and the Community Plan.
  • It’s also a chance to put forward any ideas on how the City can make its facilities more accessible for people who are blind or have low-vision.
  • If this isn’t feasible for you, feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • There will be more Listening Posts throughout the year, so head to geelongaustralia.com.au for updates on when and where these will happen.

Potential follow-up questions:

  • How did the Bellarine ward session go last Saturday?
  • What sort of topics/issues/ideas were being raised by community members?
  • Do you enjoy meeting community members?

Reconciliation Week 2021 starts on May 27, why is this still important?

  • As we broadcast on Wadawurrung land, I can tell you reconciliation is an ongoing journey for Greater Geelong and as a nation.
  • As Aboriginal Affairs portfolio chair, it’s been a very good opportunity to learn from our Traditional Owners and to stand alongside them in seeking reconciliation.
  • The Wadawurrung people have a rich and proud history in Greater Geelong and beyond, having nurtured and cared for their country for tens of thousands of years.
  • They suffered hardships, horror and harm following colonisation and the impacts are still being felt today.
  • The Wadawurrung people and their culture have managed to survive and now thrive, demonstrating their strength and resilience.
  • This year’s theme is ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’.
  • This is a chance to really think about what role we have to play when it comes to reconciliation, and what concrete action we can take in our own lives towards reconciliation.

What sort of events are happening around Greater Geelong to mark Reconciliation Week?

  • There are many events being organised, including:
    • Our City Hall projections from 21 May to 6 June.
    • The Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-Operative is holding a National Sorry Day event on Wednesday 26 May.
    • Jessie Lloyd’s Mission Songs Project is happening at the Geelong Arts Centre on Saturday 29 May.
    • Dr Robert Isaacs - Two Cultures, One Story virtual event on Thursday 27 May.
    • Head to geelongaustralia.com.au for a full list of events.

Council recently showed their support for the Uluru Statement of the Heart, tell me about that.

  • I’m pleased to chair the City’s Kilangitj Aboriginal Advisory Committee, which requested the Council write a letter to the Prime Minister and the Australian parliament supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
  • In March, councillors unanimously voted in favour of writing this letter.
  • The statement is a call from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all around the country for constitutional change and structural reform in their relationship with Australia.
  • It seeks the enshrining of a First Nations voice in the Australian Constitution, and the establishment of a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making with Australian governments.
  • I am very supportive of the statement and look forward to Australia facing up to its duty to treaty and truth telling, and to reconciling with the past so that we can look forward to a secure and happy future together.

Potential follow-up questions:

  • Can you tell me about council’s first ever Reconciliation Action Plan, which was adopted last year?
  • What does reconciliation mean to you?
  • What other steps is council taking towards reconciliation?


Potential news items for Anna-Marie to mention before your interview

West Oval: https://geelongaustralia.com.au/news/item/8d9153f2a4d669a.aspx

Local swimmer’s achievements: https://geelongaustralia.com.au/news/item/8d91465f15a9f63.aspx

Dumped rubbish: https://geelongaustralia.com.au/news/item/8d9116263255877.aspx \

Drink containers scheme: https://geelongaustralia.com.au/news/item/8d90bd7ea043068.aspx

Stead Park dog park upgrade: https://geelongaustralia.com.au/news/item/8d9114728fdb861.aspx

Various photos of Jim Mason
I acknowledge that the Land I work on, live on and play on is the Traditional Lands of the Wadawurrung People. I pay my respects and homage to Wadawurrung Elders, both past and present, to all Wadawurrung people and to all Australia's First Nation's people.