‘Our Future’ – Geelong lecture series

Advancing Society and Culture

Eminent thinkers will join the Geelong community to explore a new vision for the region’s economy.

Some of Australia’s most eminent thinkers, such as Nobel Laureate and former Australian of the Year Professor Peter Doherty AC, will join with the Geelong community to progress an ambitious strategy that aims to attract billions of dollars of private equity investment – and kick-start a new phase in the region’s development.

Professor Doherty and Dr Graham Mitchell AO – one of Australia’s leading biological scientists – will deliver the first of four lectures in the “Our Future” series, to be held on Thursday 4 May at Deakin’s Waterfront campus.

Drawing on their deep insights into the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), they will discuss the extraordinary advances in biosciences that have taken place across the globe and the future opportunities these present for the region.

Hosted by Deakin’s Centre for Regional and Rural Futures (CeRRF), the lectures are part of the “Geelong Economic Futures” initiative, which is being led by Deakin University, the City of Greater Geelong and the G21 Geelong Region Alliance.

The lectures will focus on industries that hold the key to the region’s future economic growth, identified in the recently-launched “Geelong Economic Futures” report. This report outlines four potential major projects worth about $2 billion in direct investment that aim to build on Greater Geelong’s existing strengths – and take them in new and innovative directions.

The projects include a $1 billion plan to make Avalon Victoria’s largest interstate and seaport road and rail freight terminal, an up to $800 million water solution to drought-proof regional food production, a $300 million investment at AAHL to create the Asia Pacific hub for infectious disease and biosecurity, and an injection of $70 million to Deakin’s Carbon Nexus.

The lectures will cover: Biosciences; Agriculture, Food and Water; Advanced Manufacturing and Energy; and Pathways to Prosperity.

“These lectures are critical to positioning a strong economic future for our region”
Professor Jane den Hollander AC Deakin University Vice-Chancellor

“Deakin is passionate about supporting the communities we serve, and a key part of that is helping to determine our own futures. That is why we partnered with the City of Greater Geelong and G21 to develop the ‘Geelong Economic Futures’ project.

“We need opportunities that will be commercially sustainable for the long-term; not reliant on subsidies like the car industry of old.

“These concepts were developed by local insight and supported by expert assessment to create sustainable economic futures across our region. The fact that they are based on enhancing what we already do well is a recipe for success. We have taken a community and market driven approach to Geelong Economic Futures, which is a new and exciting means of taking control of our own future.”

One of the drivers behind the project, David Downie, Strategic Advisor to CeRRF, said Deakin is “setting the pace in Australia in linking research and the private sector”.

“This is an approach to regional development, research and industry collaboration that hasn’t occurred in Australia before,” Mr Downie said. “When compared to Infrastructure Australia (IA) projects, such as the $10.9 billion Metro Rail project, our plans are not that large.

“If we are in front of technological change, we can use our ‘first move’ advantage and get ahead of everyone else. We have the confidence, vision and determination to achieve this.”

“Our Future” Lecture Series

Biosciences, Thursday 4 May, 6pm, Deakin Waterfront, with Professor Peter Doherty AC and Dr Graham Mitchell AO.


Professor Doherty is Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne and shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996 for discovering how the immune system recognises virus‐infected cells. Dr Mitchell is one of Australia’s leading biological scientists, a veterinary graduate and University gold medallist of the University of Sydney.

Agriculture, Thursday 8 June, 6pm, Deakin Waterfront, with Robert McGavin and Lyndsay Sharp.


Mr McGavin is Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman, Boundary Bend Limited. He is directly involved in a large scale vineyard in South Australia, a grazing operation in Western Queensland and a cropping and grazing operation in South Western Victoria. Ms Sharp is a Director at Leura Park Estate Vineyard, Jack Rabbit Vineyard, Flying Brick Cider Co and Curlewis Golf Club.

Advanced Manufacturing, Thursday 6 July, 6pm, Deakin Waurn Ponds, with Natalie Waldie and Jake Dingle.


Ms Waldie is Project Manager, BAE Systems Australia. Mr Dingle is Chief Executive Officer, Carbon Revolution and has a background in engineering, operations, strategy, mergers and acquisitions within Australian-listed companies.

Pathways to Prosperity, Thursday 20 July, 6pm, Deakin Waterfront, with James Pearson and Andrew Cardwell.


Mr Pearson is the Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australia’s largest business advocacy network. Mr Cardwell is a Partner at InfraInvest, and an accomplished PPP commercial director, project financing specialist and project engineer across a range of industry sectors including roads, rail, energy, military, telecommunications, environmental services and social infrastructure.

Register for sessions here.