Massive opportunity for Geelong as a global leader

April 5, 2024

“Massive opportunity” for Geelong as global leader, city Chief says. 

The City of Greater Geelong has ambitions to set the worldwide standard as a centre of excellence in advanced manufacturing and engineering , CEO Ali Wastie says. 

The City is the Platinum Partner at the 2024 GMC Technology and Innovation Summit on April 18, and this demonstrates commitment to forging Geelong as a smart city “brains trust,” Ms Wastie tells Geelong Manufacturing Council (GMC). 

“It’s a pleasure to have this opportunity to be sponsoring this event. This really just highlights our commitment to advancing manufacturing and innovation in our region, it supports all of the social and economic goals that we’re here to do. 

“We aim to be the global centre of excellence in engineering and advanced manufacturing, not just at a regional or national level but at a global level of design.” 

This month’s Summit will shine a light on the world of opportunity open to manufacturers as hundreds of investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers and executives gather for a full day of curated conversation. It is a lynchpin of the 30-year vision for the Geelong region to be recognised as a clever and creative city-region. 

Ms Wastie, who has held the CEO role for nine months, says her grandfather, aunts, uncles and cousins have all lived and worked in the Geelong region, her father was born in Portarlington and her mother has spent 25 years at Ocean Grove. 

Geelong’s has had a “rich tapestry with manufacturing,” she says. 

“It’s just fantastic to be part of this summit to bring together industry experts, investors and thought leaders and really have those insightful discussions, learn from the best, showcase opportunities that we have here right now and also pitch out into the future – so really put ourselves out there for investors thinking of coming into the Geelong region and strengthening already what is a very strong ecosystem for advanced manufacturing.” 

There is particular opportunity for Geelong to play a key leadership role in the circular economy via advanced manufacturing and in “showing the world what can be done” to address climate challenges, she says, as “really smart people who have been at this a long time” are increasingly choosing to bring their skills to Geelong and call it home.  

“We have a key role to play,” Ms Wastie said during an interview with GMC on Tuesday. “Advanced manufacturing is a growth area. We are really showcasing the best of what is here at Geelong and attracting people so they can see themselves part of it and a future here.  

“The Geelong brains trust is making sure there are those career opportunities. You only have to look around in terms of who’s investing here, and the major companies that are coming in and the work that they’re doing and the products that they’re developing and designing here, and then exporting. But there’s still a lot of untapped potential.” 

Geelong’s ecosystem boasts a range of higher education, rail, freight and port, and an enviable lifestyle attractive to families. The defence industry and lots of “burgeoning” businesses are choosing the city over rivals.  

Ms Wastie says this has brought some social change – and even some non-Geelong AFL attire worn by a few daring souls. 

“It’s like ‘Well, you’re brave, wearing your Collingwood scarf in the office’! But now it’s not uncommon to see people wear different football scarves. This is the changing face of Geelong — we are attracting people who come because of what Geelong has to offer, and we’re not a small town anymore.  

“We’re 290,000 residents and we’ll be at 400,000 before we know it.” 

Secure tickets for the 2024 Technology & Innovation Summit here