Growing our economy

Objective: Securing Geelong's economic future

The City of Greater Geelong has a labour force of just over 101,000 with 72.5 per cent employed in the following sectors: health care and social assistance, retail trade, manufacturing, education and training, accommodation and food services, construction and public administration and safety. Non-domestic building activity continues to increase spurred by significant investment in public buildings, health, industrial and residential projects. Trade through Geelong Port continues to increase and tourism is a strong economic driver with the region continuing to attract an increasing number of visitors.

We are emerging as a leader in several dynamic industries such as knowledge, innovation and research, advanced manufacturing, health, tourism, events, food and horticulture. It is important that we continue to take advantage and attract businesses in these growth sectors.

A strong and developing community in Geelong needs to be underpinned by a strong, diverse and growing economy. Council’s commitment to this for the next four years will see the establishment of Enterprise Geelong - a fresh, innovative and focused approach to our region’s economic development.

Enterprise Geelong is the centrepiece of our efforts to drive a much harder, more targeted and commercially orientated approach to achieve sustainable employment and economic growth. It is showing that Geelong is a ‘can do city’ and that we are a ‘can do council’, building confidence that Geelong is a great place to do business – both for those already here and those we seek to attract.

Enterprise Geelong recognises the value of partnerships in promoting investment opportunities and in securing state and federal funding for major regional projects. It also builds on existing alliances in the interests of the region.

Over the life of the current City Plan (2013-2017) we will deliver new initiatives and system changes to address the following five important priorities:

  • Support existing businesses and encourage new and emerging growth sectors 

  • Facilitate major infrastructure and investment to enable economic growth 

  • A prosperous and innovative Geelong 

  • A successful and vibrant city centre 

  • Greater Geelong is a leading city for tourism, arts, culture and events 

Strategies and master plans

Below is a selection of the key strategies, master plans and initiatives that will assist in delivering Growing our Economy priorities:

  • Armstrong Creek Urban Growth Plan   

  • Central Geelong Action Plan 

  • Central Geelong Structure Plan 

  • Economic Development Strategy (under development)

  • G21 Regional Economic Development Strategy  

  • Geelong Cultural Precinct Master Plan

  • Geelong Major Events Strategy

  • Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine Strategic Plan 
  • Urban Forest Strategy

Key partnerships include:

  • The community 

  • Federal and State Government departments 

  • Visit Victoria 

  • Arts Victoria 

  • Regional Development Australia / Regional Development Victoria 

  • Urban Development Institute of Australia 

  • Department of Business and Industry 

  • Committee for Geelong 

  • Chamber of Commerce 

  • Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) 

  • Geelong Manufacturing Council 

  • Central Geelong Marketing 

  • Mainstreet Australia 

  • Geelong Port Authority 

  • G21 – Geelong Region Alliance 

  • Vic Roads 

  • Victorian Major Events Company 

  • BioGeelong 

  • Information Communications Technology Geelong 

  • Food Co-products Cluster 

  • Barwon Health 

  • Barwon Water 

  • The Gordon 

  • Deakin University 

  • Geelong Cats Football Club 

  • Tourism associations 

  • Traders associations 

  • Event owners and operators 

  • Victorian Tourism Industry Council 

  • Victorian Events Industry Council 


Every day we are faced with challenges, both global and regional. These challenges impact on our decision making in the immediate and long term. It is important we remain flexible so we can respond to the changing needs of our community as well as making the most of the opportunities that arise.

Some of the challenges facing us in the pursuit of growing our economy include: 

  • The closure of Alcoa and impending closure of Ford. 

  • Gaining government funding for key infrastructure projects. 

  • Addressing skills shortages. 

  • Taking advantage of the opportunities that the biotechnology industry will provide our region into the future. 

  • Diversification of our economy recognising the significant contribution made by our changing manufacturing sector. 

  • Taking advantage of the opportunities that will arise out of the marginal nature of the major state and federal seats in the region. 

  • Seeking investment opportunities that will be provided by the Armstrong Creek and Geelong Ring Road Employment Precinct developments. 

  • Identifying ideas and opportunities that will provide the momentum for the next 15 years of growth in Central Geelong. 

  • New economic opportunities through transition to low carbon economy through development of new clean technologies, research and development, manufacturing and new product and service offerings. 

  • Decline in workforce participation as the workforce ages.

  • The increasing impact and cost of meeting regulation and compliance may be inhibiting to innovation.  

  • The challenge that expanding suburban shopping centres has on retail in Central Geelong.

  • Regional tourism structure review and the impact on Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine

  • The increasing number of major event applications seeking financial support outweighing available funding.

Priority: Support existing businesses and encourage new and emerging growth sectors

We recognise that traditional industries will continue to be key economic and employment drivers in our city. At the same time, it is critical to focus on new and emerging growth sectors that will underpin our city’s prosperity.

We will:

  • Support existing businesses and explore strategic opportunities.

  • Facilitate strategies and activities to attract new business investment and generate employment growth.

  • Support and encourage new and emerging low carbon industries and sectors.

  • Promote Geelong as a great place for business and investment, nationally and internationally.

  • Promote the advantages of Geelong’s business and lifestyle environment that will encourage the retention and attraction of highly skilled people and businesses.

  • Link local businesses with growth opportunities and government funding.

Progress indicators:

Type of indicator Indicators Target
D Business and investment enquiries (including industrial land enquiries, relocation and business development and expansion assistance) Minimum 80 enquires
D Business events/workshops/seminars facilitated and supported Minimum 100 enquires
D Attendees at City of Greater Geelong facilitated business events Minimum 1,500 across all events
M Regional unemployment rate Below the Victorian average

Priority: Facilitate major infrastructure and investment to enable economic growth

We will facilitate the provision of appropriate infrastructure to enable economic growth and capitalise on competitive advantages by:

  • Advocating on local, state and federal government infrastructure priorities and funding submissions. 

  • Facilitating the strategic planning and activation of key precincts to maximise their potential for economic success. 

  • Promoting the economic potential and development opportunity of the region’s significant transport infrastructure; Avalon Airport, Port of Geelong, Geelong Ring Road, rail for freight and land for development. 

  • Working together to remove barriers to investment and project delivery. 

  • Streamlining regulatory processes wherever possible.  

  • Proactively targeting and attracting new investment to Geelong and promoting our regions benefits.

Progress indicators:

Type of indicator Indicators Target
D Years supply of zoned residential land available in the Geelong region 10+ years available
M Value of non domestic building activity Increase

Priority: A prosperous and innovative Geelong

Geelong will be recognised as a prosperous and innovative city with an economy that is strong, diverse and resilient. Our competitive advantages will deliver technological initiatives, high employment and prosperity. We will be a leader in technology and use resources effectively to generate a competitive position in key export markets. We will:

  • Encourage the regions labour force to continually upskill ensuring that we have the necessary capabilities to support our economic growth.

  • Grow and promote business sectors that offer high-skilled employment. 

  • Advocate for and support innovative and new technological initiatives.

  • Foster investment in diversification of skills and industries.

  • Advocate for Geelong to be the centre of excellence for research projects, new technologies and emerging industry sectors.

Progress indicators:

Type of indicator Indicators Target
M Number of student enrolments at Deakin University (Waurn Ponds and Waterfront campuses) Monitor
M Number of student enrolments at The Gordon (TAFE) Monitor

Priority: A successful and vibrant city centre

The vision for Central Geelong is for greater mixed use where traditional retail is supplemented by arts, culture, residential, entertainment, education, medical and business to create an active and vibrant city centre.

We will:

  • Develop an overall master plan for Central Geelong which will include the ideas from Vision 2. 

  • Promote inner-city living and encourage developers to invest in Central Geelong and generate innovative solutions for sustainable city living. 

  • Develop and foster a vibrant 24-hour cultural city that is welcoming, friendly and safe, and that attracts and generates a robust cultural life for all ages. 

  • Support existing Central Geelong businesses and attract new businesses to the precinct. 

  • Support Deakin University in promoting Geelong as a ‘university city’. 

  • Support the continued implementation of the Geelong Cultural Precinct Master Plan. 

  • Investigate transport network improvements enabling a cleaner, more user-friendly environment where active transport options are encouraged. 

Progress indicators:

Type of indicator Indicators Target
D Central Geelong presentation – cleanliness index Equal or greater than previous result
D Number of organised programs, activities and events in public spaces in Central Geelong 700 or greater by 2017
I Overall visitor satisfaction with Central Geelong Equal or greater than previous year
I Number of residents living in Central Geelong 2,200 or greater by 2017
I Number of visitors to Central Geelong 23 million per annum or greater by 2017
I Perceptions of safety in Central Geelong (Day and night) 75% satisfactory or better - day
70% satisfactory or better -night 
M Number of people employed in Central Geelong businesses 23,000 or greater by 2017
M Number of businesses in Central Geelong 1,600 or greater by 2017

Priority: Greater Geelong is a leading city for tourism, arts, culture and events

We will build on our past success and continue the tradition of attracting major events and supporting local festivals with diverse art and cultural activities. Whether for business or leisure, our region is a preferred destination for local, national and international visitors.

We will:

  • Promote the unique strengths our region has to offer such as our natural assets, world class sporting facilities and a great lifestyle. 

  • Build on the opportunities that being Victoria’s second largest city offers and our proximity to Victoria’s capital. 

  • Support creative endeavour and investigate the potential for unique arts and cultural opportunities. 

  • Support local festivals and events and provide opportunities for participation in the arts for all ages. 

  • Advocate on behalf of the community for major event, tourism and cultural opportunities. 

Progress indicators:

Type of indicator Indicators Target
D Geelong Major Events – economic benefit to the municipality Return on investment = 30:1
D Community satisfaction rating with overall performance of arts centres and libraries (Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey) Meet or exceed Victorian Council average
D Community satisfaction rating with overall performance of community and cultural activities (LocalGovernment Community Satisfaction Survey) Meet or exceed Victorian Council average
D Community satisfaction rating with overall performance of business, community development and tourism (Local Government  Community Satisfaction Survey) Meet or exceed Victorian Council average
D I Cultural facility visitation (National Wool Museum, Potato Shed, Geelong Gallery, Courthouse Arts, Central Library and Heritage Centre) National Wool Museum - 3% per annum
Potato Shed - maintain (at capacity)
Geelong Gallery - 3% per annum
Courthouse Arts - 15% per annum increase in attraction and retention of young people as participants and audience
Geelong Library and Heritage Centre - targets revised annually due to construction of new facility
I Number of domestic overnight visitors (National Visitor Survey) Exceed the average annual growth for overnight visitors to Regional Victoria
I Number of international overnight visitors (International Visitor Survey) Exceed the average annual growth for overnight visitors to Regional Victoria

Ongoing Growing Our Economy Services and Activities for the Community

  • Industry and business support including promoting and supporting increased economic activity, employment opportunities and investment. 

  • Attracting, supporting, funding and hosting of major and community events. 

  • Promotion and management of Central Geelong and Waterfront, and operation of the Carousel. 

  • Promoting the Geelong region as a business and leisure tourism destination including operation of the Visitor Information Centres. 

  • Urban revitalisation of Central Geelong and townships. 

  • Management of venues such as Simonds Stadium and Geelong Arena which host national and international sporting and entertainment events. 

  • Planning scheme amendments to rezone land, and facilitate sustainable development of retail centres and industrial land developments. 

  • The management and coordination of major planning developments such as Armstrong Creek, to ensure continued sustainable economic growth in the region. 

  • Attracting and supporting the investment of innovation, knowledge and research industries within the region. 

  • Maintenance and data updates of the City of Greater Geelong Community Profile and Forecast website, which can be accessed by community groups, investors, business, students and the general public. 

  • Support to arts and cultural services, programs, festivals and events, including the disbursement of the Community Arts and Community Festival grants. 

  • Production of the Arts Directory, Arts Bulletin and the Central Geelong Arts and Culture Walking Trail booklet. 

  • Operation of arts and cultural facilities such as the National Wool Museum, Geelong Heritage Centre and the Potato Shed. 

How you can contribute to achieving the Growing our Economy outcomes:

  • Boost our economy by shopping locally. 

  • Support your city traders and service providers. 

  • Support small business operators. 

  • Use local service providers. 

  • Be welcoming to visitors and tourists. 

  • Take your visiting friends and relatives to all the great local attractions, events and businesses. 

  • Take on an apprentice and help build Geelong’s future skills base. 

  • Hold your business conferences and events within the municipality. 

  • Broaden your skill base and knowledge by undertaking further education and training opportunities.

  • Attend local festivals and events.

Indicator Key:


Type of measure
D Direct – Council has a direct influence on the measure result
I Influence – Council has an influence on the measure result but other external factors outside our control also impact it
M Monitor – Council has no influence on the measure result but monitors it to assist in future planning

Page last updated: Friday, 23 June 2017