State gives $750K for GROW

The G21 region's GROW project will receive a further $750,000 from the State Government, announced today (18 May 2018) by Member for Geelong Christine Couzens.

The new funding is in addition to a previous State contribution of $1million for the first five years of the GROW - G21 Region Opportunities for Work (GROW) program, and $100,000 to help develop the original GROW Strategic Plan.

The State Government also yesterday announced it would fund projects replicating the successful GROW - G21 Region project in both Ballarat and Gippsland, with other centres to follow.

What started as an ambitious and innovative idea to address place-based disadvantage in the G21 region has been adopted by the State Government to be rolled out across Victoria.

The principle of GROW is to encourage enterprises to strategically buy and employ locally, and in doing so specifically create opportunities for work for disadvantaged communities.  This is GROW Social Procurement.

GROW was established jointly by the Give Where You Live Foundation and G21 – Geelong Region Alliance in 2014 to address disadvantage in the region through creating jobs, especially within target areas of high unemployment.

 Give Where You Live Foundation CEO Bill Mithen, said the State Government’s adoption of GROW in other centres of Victoria was a “no brainer” when the G21 region program achievements were examined.

 Mr Mithen welcomed today's funding announcement to bolster GROW's work across the G21 region.

“Today’s announcement will go a long way to ensuring GROW continues to benefit the region but specifically those in disadvantaged areas,” Mr Mithen said.

“Some 82 businesses and other organisations have signed the GROW compact in the G21 region, committing to procure and employ locally wherever practical.

"Earlier this month GROW announced outcomes based on expenditure data collected from 16 of the Compact signatory organisations, showing a $20.2 million increase in local procurement, leading to 179 jobs in the region broadly over a 12 month period.

“Most importantly, we reported 75 on-the-ground specific jobs in disadvantaged target communities.

“Collectively, for every $1 million spent locally, about 8.84 new jobs can potentially be created.  And there are obvious commercial benefits for those companies agreeing to procure locally wherever possible.”

G21 CEO Elaine Carbines said addressing long-term entrenched disadvantage was in many ways about cultural change and collective action.

“Our GROW compact signatories continue to illustrate why our region has flourished as it undertakes such an initiative,” Ms Carbines said.

“These plans are a catalyst for change in disadvantaged communities.  GROW signatories are identifying and developing innovative opportunities to drive meaningful transformation in people’s lives, their own organisations and the broader economy.

“We’re delighted that the groundwork and hard-slog put in by G21 and Give Where You Live Foundation, with the support of local businesses and organisations, has shown what’s possible and has inspired others to follow.”

Give Where You Live Foundation committed $2 million as well as ongoing operational support and in-kind contributions over 10 years to establish GROW, with the expectation that additional government, business and philanthropic funding will be committed as the project developed.

G21 provided $30,000, plus an ongoing in-kind contribution. The State Government provided $1million for the first five years $100,000 to develop the GROW Strategic Plan document and the further $750,000 announced today.

GROW website: www.grow.g21.com.au

Source: Based on a GROW media release