The City of Ballarat has won a national award for the Ballarat West Employment Zone as it seeks funding for the next stage of the major industrial site.
The council’s acting economic development manager Angelique Lush said the employment zone, which would unlock 623 hectares of land adjoining the Ballarat Airport, was running on time and budget.
The council received a national strategic planning award from Economic Development Australia on Monday, recognising its work on the BWEZ.
When complete, the site will accommodate a mix of businesses from freight and logistics to food processing and equipment manufacturing.
Its development comes at a time of uncertainty for many Ballarat manufacturers, with hundreds of job cuts in the past three years and Mapal Australia also announcing the end of production at its Sturt Street factory last week.
Ms Lush said BWEZ was a response to the challenges of population growth, manufacturing industry transition and ensuring sufficient industrial land supply.
It had three catalyst projects to ensure a cost effective business environment, she said.
“These projects include a freight hub to reduce transport costs, an alternative energy plant – to reduce the cost of energy - and an advanced manufacturing innovation centre to help industry to transition, deliver transfer of technology and incubate start-ups,” she said.
Ms Lush said the project stood out because it was “not a normal strategic planning process”.
“It was driven by the market need,” she said.
“The fact we were able to get a planning scheme amendment so quickly was really a sign of everyone agreeing this was an important project to Ballarat.”
The council received state government funding in September last year to prepare the site for development.
Ms Lush said they would lodge another funding application in December to subdivide and provide utilities at the site.
“We’ve already had some businesses come forward to us and by January or February we’ll be in a much better position to take those inquiries as far as having land sizes,” she said.