BALLARAT’s population will be expected to increase to more than 200,000 by 2050 under a strategy for Victoria’s growth released by the state government.
Higher density living, including apartments and townhouses, in Ballarat’s city centre are also part of a vision to see the regions take on a greater load of the state’s population growth.
In an interview with The Courier, Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the Plan Melbourne document was a vision for the state that would focus on regionalising growth.
He said Melbourne was bearing too much of the state’s strong growth and regional centres like Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong had to do more of the work.
“It won’t be an overnight affair, but we are seeking to build much greater population centres in Victoria,” he said.
The push for bigger regional centres will see the implementation of a permanent urban growth boundary around Melbourne, which will aim to stop urban sprawl.
Already one of the top centres for growth, Mr Guy said he would like Ballarat to more than double its current population of 96,752 by 2050.
He said it would be “unavoidable” there would be higher density housing in Ballarat, including more residential buildings of three or four stories.
Mr Guy acknowledged improved infrastructure was needed if Ballarat was to continue to grow.
He said a new planning authority would be created to work with the City of Ballarat to identify local infrastructure issues created by population growth.
Jobs would also be a key issue, with the plan to increase jobs in regional areas and not just Melbourne.
He said sufficient transport to the city was important, but he wanted people to have more reason to stay in Ballarat.
“It is not sustainable for Ballarat to become a dormant commuter suburb,” he said.