Council pursues federal funding opportunities for Northern Aquatic and Community Hub

The City of Greater Geelong is actively pursuing two federal government funding opportunities to contribute to construction of the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub.

At last night’s meeting, Council agreed to put forward the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub for Round 5 of the Building Better Regions Fund, which offers funding of up to $10 million.

Council will also seek to assign the Federal Government’s $8.3 million Local Roads & Community Infrastructure Fund (LRCIF) phase 2 allocation to the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub.

The City will request an extension to the June 2022 completion date currently required by projects funded through the LRCIF program, an option that is provided for in the program guidelines.

Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher said the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub was Council’s priority community infrastructure project.

We are seizing the opportunity to seek financial support for the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub through current federal funding schemes.

Construction of the hub will be transformative for Greater Geelong. This is critical infrastructure that will provide life-changing preventative health support for communities in the north.

The Northern Aquatic and Community Hub is a $61.6 million major community infrastructure project that will provide health, fitness, community and civic facilities for Geelong’s northern suburbs as well as serve a rapidly growing population.

Recent studies have found that the rates of sedentary lifestyles, poor health and high or very high distress in the northern suburbs are double the average rates found in Greater Geelong.

In August 2020, Corio/Norlane was listed as the second highest location in the state for JobSeeker recipients, numbering 3,071.

Residents in these areas are likely to be particularly hard hit by economic hardship as a result of the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the resulting impacts on physical and mental health.

All of these factors signal a greater need for better community services and accessible public health facilities, particularly preventative health, which would be delivered through the Northern Aquatic & Community Hub.

It’s also estimated construction will inject $67 million into the local economy and support 111 local jobs.

Council has committed $20.6 million to this priority project and is seeking the remaining $41 million required through state and federal government funding.

Windermere Ward Councillor Anthony Aitken said the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub was vital for the northern suburbs, which has been earmarked for major population growth in coming years

The project will provide a major economic boost for the region during construction and once complete it will directly address some significant health and wellbeing challenges faced in the north.

Not only will it provide essential services for our growing northern suburbs community, the unparalleled quality and design of the hub will draw visitors from all around the region.

The business case is robust, the need is clear, and we are jumping on these federal funding opportunities to get this project started.

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