Ballarat leaders happy with King's new position

BALLARAT MP Catherine King’s promotion bodes well for Ballarat and regional Australia as a whole, city leaders say.

Ms King was named Australia’s new Minister for Regional Services, Local Communities and Territories and Road Safety yesterday, giving Ballarat its first minister in decades.

Committee for Ballarat chief executive officer John Kilgour told The Courier Ms King had a good appreciation of regional issues, and it stood her in good stead for her new portfolio.

He said having a minister again in the electorate had been a long time coming.

“In terms of what it means for Ballarat, time will tell,” he said.

“We’re moving towards a federal election but clearly Catherine has a good grasp of the issues that matter for Ballarat.

“This appointment gives her the opportunity to lend her voice around a number of key issues in the regional portfolio, which would be welcome.

“The important thing is that there are a lot of common issues that matter to regional Australia, not just Ballarat.

“If Catherine is in a position to effectively be part of the discussion around regional issues then that could have a knock-on effect for Ballarat.”

City of Ballarat mayor John Burt said he was sure the council’s relationship with the Ballarat MP would continue to be a positive and successful one.

“From our council point of view, we’re very pleased Catherine has received that honour and that position,” he said.

“Ballarat is a significant region and having our local member take on that, all bodes well for all the regions and Ballarat in particular.”

Cr Burt said Ballarat’s local member knew what the council had in mind for its new strategy and just last week, a delegation of councillors and staff were in Canberra talking with her about the projects important to the city.

“She knows first hand and she knows us personally,” he said.

“Ballarat is very important to her as far as her political career is concerned.”

In a statement, University of Ballarat vice-chancellor David Battersby congratulated Ms King on her appointment and said the university looked forward to working with all the new ministers in the interests of regional education and regional development.