Good on your Darryn. Far too much development - over-development in Melbourne - and the rural cities and towns need a hand up.
Mayor Darryn Lyons' campaign poster aimed at politicians ahead of November's State Election.Source: Supplied
GEELONG mayor Darryn Lyons is demanding the State Government hand over $25 million to build a pier at the end of Yarra St that is capable of berthing cruise ships.
Cr Lyons said his proposal was non-negotiable and the State Government needed to stump up with the cash to allow Geelong to take advantage of the fastest growing tourism sector in the world.
He said he was "fed up" with seeing massive Government handouts to improve facilities in Melbourne, including last week's announcement of a $298 million revamp for Melbourne Park.
"(Cruise liners) is a growing industry," Cr Lyons said.
"If a politician doesn't look at this and say this is a great business model then we're not being run very well."
Council has already pledged $5 million towards the proposed Yarra St Pier and the Royal Geelong Yacht Club has committed $2.5 million.
Cr Lyons, who is a member of the Liberal Party, said it was time the Government got serious about its commitment to regional Victoria in the lead up to November's state election.
"This election must be all about the regions," he said.
"I am in a no negotiation state. This has to be done."
Council documents show a Yarra St Pier could attract 22 cruise ships to Geelong each year, pump $41 million into the local economy and create 403 new jobs in the first decade.
Cr Lyons also said they were in negotiations with an international cruise line to have a ship based in Geelong, resulting in nine extra visits each year.
They expect to have an answer by March.
Meanwhile, hundreds off cruise ship passengers were ferried in small boats from the Seabourn Odyssey to explore Geelong in the radiant sunshine yesterday.
It was the second of five cruise ships set to dock in Corio Bay during a record summer season.
The vessel, carrying 450 passengers and 330 crew docked about 7am and left later that day.
Americans Joan and Mike Matz, from Arizona, were on the ship after boarding in Auckland, New Zealand, on January 2.
They are on their way to Sydney after travelling down the east coast of New Zealand and said they really enjoyed their day in Geelong.
"We went up town and we went to the art gallery and walked around the waterfront," Ms Matz said.
"We've loved all the little towns along the way but this was by far the friendliest."
Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine executive director Roger Grant said when the ship visited in February last year it injected an estimated $100,000 into the local economy in just eight hours.
"It's very rewarding to see a vessel like the Seabourn Odyssey returning several times," he said.
"It means we're providing a great service to the cruise industry and the region is proving a positive and memorable experience for their passengers."