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Is Frankston having its Geelong moment?

Frankston is in the middle of a ‘glow up’.

Visitors are filling our streets, cranes are dotting our skyline, and key streets have undergone some serious facelifts.

The Victorian Government has identified Frankston as a Metropolitan Activity Centre, and in response the local council has embraced Frankston becoming the ‘capital of the south east’.

The Frankston Metropolitan Activity Centre Plan (FMAC) is the document underpinning bold ambitions for sustainable development, private and public investment, diverse housing options, and destination shopping and dining promenades.

Like Geelong, Frankston has an enviable waterfront precinct which has been successfully activated over the past decade and now hosts major annual events, concerts and festivals.

Alongside the waterfront, Kananook Creek winds its way past Nepean Highway and meets the pristine sands and waters of a beach which is regularly voted Melbourne’s best. With the greatest respect to other key activity centres in Metropolitan Melbourne, none of them have got what Frankston does.

And this is changing the way we want to work.

Over in Geelong, big four firm KPMG opened an office in the city’s centre. This move acknowledges that the quality of staff they are hoping to attract now expect a greater emphasis on work-life balance and short commutes to work.

This lifestyle-leading model is appealing to many prospective employees, and like Geelong, Frankston is well placed to emulate this attractive working environment.

The last three decades have been transformative for Geelong – headlined by the Pyramid Building Society collapse and closure of the Ford factory. Significant forces like these meant that local government and industry had to organise itself and collectively speak up for their city.

Local community leaders like Frank Costa helped set up the Committee for Geelong, in an effort to encourage investment from all levels of Government and embrace their status as Victoria’s second city.

Fast forward to today, and Geelong boasts major employers like the TAC, National Disability Insurance Agency, and WorkSafe. It’s also getting its more than fair share from Government.

The Committee for Frankston & Mornington Peninsula found $22,823 is spent on infrastructure per person in City of Greater Geelong – a whopping $20,506 more than a resident on the Peninsula!

Back in Geelong, an influx of Melburnians has gentrified many of its surrounding suburbs, bringing with it laneway eating and dining, a brand new Arts Centre, and a planned Convention and Exhibition Centre set to open in 2026.

Of course, changes as significant as these have brought challenges to housing stock, rental affordability, and infrastructure problems.

Even the most casual observer couldn’t help but make comparisons to two cities both just under an hour from Melbourne’s CBD – which is why it’s crucial we look to address what our region looks like in twenty year’s time and start tackling some of those growing pains right now.

The politics too is similar, which is often as crucial as any other factor in the success of a region.

The federal electorate of Dunkley and state electorate of Frankston are crucial in either side of politics forming government. Essentially, you can’t govern in Victoria without the people of Frankston.

And this has been crucial in the city’s more recent success. Investments in redeveloping the Frankston Hospital, Frankston train station, level crossing removals, Chisholm TAFE upgrades and more car parking for commuters are just some of the major projects delivered by successive governments since 2014.

However, Government shouldn’t take Frankston for granted. This city is on the precipice of something special and the next few decades will be transformative for the way we live, work and play on the Peninsula.

Frankston is a good fifteen years behind Geelong. Can we learn from the lessons across the bay and embrace the changing face of Frankston CBD? Only time will tell.


Josh Sinclair is the CEO of Committee for Frankston & Mornington Peninsula