BUSINESS leaders are hopeful of a strong future for Ballarat under new Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, after the sudden resignation of Ted Baillieu.
However they have also offered a warning that any political instability could spell trouble for local business.
Ted Baillieu tended his shock resignation as Premier last night, with Dr Napthine rising to the position of leader of the Liberal Party.John Kilgour, CEO of the Committee for Ballarat, said Dr Napthine's role as Minister for Regional Cities would give him a strong background in issues affecting the region.
"Obviously Denis Napthine will want to put his stamp of authority on what he thinks the key issues are," he said."[But] I think both Denis Napthine and also the deputy leader Peter Ryan, whose portfolio is Minister for Regional and Rural Development, would be across the issues affecting Ballarat."
Mr Kilgour said government projects already in the pipeline, such as the Ballarat Western Link Road and Ballarat West Employment Zone, shouldn't be affected by the change in leadership.
Geoff Robinson, politics lecturer at Deakin University in Geelong, said Dr Napthine would have a window of opportunity to re-establish himself with the public.
Dr Napthine was last leader of the Liberal Party in 2002, when he was deposed by Robert Doyle. "They're going to have to rally behind him, it's going to be a challenge. I'm not sure he's the person to do it," he said.
Andrew Rowan, chair of Commerce Ballarat, said the uncertainty caused by a leadership change was bad for business.
"What people of Australia and Ballarat would like to see is strong stable government. Any political instability can have a destablising effect on consumers," he said."If there is some consumer confidence issues then that kind of feeds through to business.
"Mr Robinson said the shock move to replace a first term Premier showed parties were becoming increasingly likely to change leaders.
"It shows how difficult it is being in government at the moment, the idea of loyalty to leaders is out of the picture."