The following was provided by the Member for Lara, John Eren ….

As we near the end of the year, I thought it would be a great time to update everyone on some significant State Government projects that are underway in our community. There is so much happening in our wonderful northern suburbs at the moment.

As I mentioned last edition, the State Labor Government has provided $8.5 million toward the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub (NACH), a state-of-the-art facility which will bring health and wellness benefits – as well as local jobs during construction.

Construction of the new multimillion-dollar 30-bed drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Corio, aimed at helping locals recover from substance use, is well underway. The service should become operational by the end of this year.

Construction has also begun on the $3.6 million state-of-the-art Kids Rehabilitation Centre at the McKellar Centre. The build, funded by the Barwon Health Foundation Kids Appeal, will take approximately six months to complete and will provide a purpose-built space for children and adolescents to undergo rehabilitation.

Recently, I was able to officially announce additional funding for local not-for-profit organisation Northern Futures.

I am proud to have been involved with Northern Futures since 2007, when it was founded by myself and Richard Marles, the Federal Member for Corio.

As part of the Jobs Victoria program, our government is investing in education and support for about 150 jobseekers, through training in Geelong led by Northern Futures, thanks to this funding.

Northern Futures is an important Jobs Victoria partner in our local community and works closely with local employers, with its ‘Skills for Success’ project equipping jobseekers with tailor-made training and personal support.

The Government has invested $619 million into Jobs Victoria to support people looking for work and connect employers with the staff they need. A massive thank you and congratulations to the whole Northern Futures team for their tireless work and commitment to this fantastic program.

I was also pleased to recently announce funding to two local schools in my electorate of Lara. These two local projects are part of 34 projects across Victoria that will share in $70million under Round 3 of the Non-Government Schools Capital Fund, which is delivering new schools, increasing capacity and providing modern facilities, as well as supporting the removal of asbestos and cladding.

Holy Family School (Bell Park) will receive $2million for the next phase of its masterplan, including refurbishment and replacement of existing facilities.

Covenant College will receive $2.8million to go towards construction of general purpose learning areas (GPLAs) providing generalist and specialist learning spaces with associated student and staff amenities.

Our local sporting clubs are also beneficiaries of State Government funding.

Soccer has been given a boost in Geelong’s northern suburbs, with $250,000 towards a pavilion upgrade at Hume Reserve from the government’s 2020-21 World Game Facilities Fund. The reserve is home to the Corio Soccer Club, which has seen growing interest in recent years, however the outdated facilities have stopped the club reaching its potential.

Shell Reserve Corio, home to Corio Sporting Club, has scored $500,000 towards a female friendly change facility redevelopment. This boost will go a long way to support the growing number of people in Geelong’s north keen to get involved in local sport and recreation.

The Victorian Government has invested more than $1.1billion in community sport and recreation infrastructure since 2014 to help make sport and recreation more accessible, welcoming and inclusive for more Victorians.

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