A state MP and the mayor of Greater Geelong council have spoken against the idea of joining with Wyndham to create a new region.
Last month, Star Weekly reported that Wyndham mayor Peter Maynard was calling on the state government to establish a new region, known as the Wyndham, Avalon and Geelong City-Rural Region, to prioritise investment in the fast-growing region.
Following Cr Maynard’s comments, Western Victorian MP Simon Ramsay told Parliament that residents of the Geelong region would “not entertain the idea” of joining with Wyndham.
“I do thank Lindsay Fox for providing that wonderful buffer of the Avalon Airport to that creeping metropolis of Wyndham and all its baggage that it has,” he said.
Mr Ramsay said he intended “baggage” as a “respectful term” meaning the demand for services in Wyndham, such as hospitals and schools.
He said that Geelong, the Surf Coast and Bellarine had a “different lifestyle and different identity” from the western growth suburbs of Melbourne.
This sentiment was echoed by the mayor of Greater Geelong, Bruce Harwood.
Cr Harwood said while he understood Wyndham council was keen to attract more funding for infrastructure, Greater Geelong was “very mindful that we want to retain our identity as the second city in Victoria”.
“For us, the key is to retain our own identity as a city and not an outer suburb of Melbourne.”
Wyndham chief executive Kelly Grigsby said the council was not suggesting a merger, but was advocating for Wyndham, Avalon and Geelong to be recognised as its own region or corridor, as a way of driving investment across all three areas.