Geelong’s international reputation remains strong

City of Greater Geelong mayor Trent Sullivan. (supplied)

Last week Geelong hosted a delegation of Japanese business leaders as part of a new strategy to drive international investment to power innovation and boost employment in our region.

I was fortunate enough to meet with Japanese Deputy Consul-General, Ms Natsuko Miguchi, during her time here, which saw a group of about 20 senior executives from Japanese companies visiting local businesses across various sectors.

It was wonderful to welcome the delegation to our city and discuss how we can strengthen ties between Japan and Greater Geelong.

We want to attract and retain world-leading industries and services, to strengthen and further diversify our modern economy.

Council’s new international engagement strategy, which was adopted earlier this year, prioritises our relationship with Japan.

As many would know, we have a long-standing Sister City relationship with Izumi-Otsu.

Historically, our region has had a strong and friendly trade relationship thanks to our complementary manufacturing and tourism industries, and it is exciting to think that we can connect closely to help facilitate new opportunities that benefit both cities.

The economic landscape of Geelong has dramatically transformed in recent years, thanks to significant investments from both the public and private sectors.

We have evolved from a traditional manufacturing town into a vibrant and creative city in one of Australia’s fastest-growing regions.

Geelong is seen as a beacon for international tourism and study, as well as investment in research, advanced manufacturing and defence, digital technology, renewable energy and the clean economy.

However, continuing to build our international profile as a place to invest, do business, visit and study is crucial in cementing our position as a city of global significance.

As part of the Japanese delegation visit, I attended a forum at the Geelong Gallery to discuss opportunities for our region to do business with Japan on trade, design and innovation.

The talks were highly valuable and informative and provided a blueprint for how we can do business into the future.

As detailed in our draft Economic Development Plan – ‘Geelong on the Rise: A Clever and Creative International City’, we are looking to add a further 55,000 new jobs to the region and increase our Gross Regional Product by $9.7 billion by 2041.

And in establishing the direction for the next significant evolution in our local economy, we identified the region’s competitive advantages, opportunities, barriers and challenges. 

Being open for business on the global stage forms a major part of that plan, and reaffirming relationships with countries such as Japan and exploring ways to do business together, both now and into the future, will play a pivotal role in shaping our success.