The Ballarat City Council has identified jobs, a vibrant central business district and a major exhibition facility as key priorities for the city’s future.
Unveiling the Ballarat Regional Capital Plan at Parliament House before key government and opposition figures last night, mayor Joshua Morris said it was a document that looked towards the next 30 years and aimed to build the city as an economic powerhouse.
Cr Morris said the council wanted to give both parties the opportunity to identify the projects they wanted to pursue ahead of next year’s state election.
Officially launched by Premier Denis Napthine, the plan identified the first stage of the Ballarat West Employment Zone, encouraging a government agency to relocate to Ballarat and an exhibition centre as key funding priorities for the city’s future.
It pinpointed two potential locations for a major exhibition facility at either the Eureka stadium or Ballarat railway station precincts.
The major parties could provide $18 million for a 3000 square metre exhibition space in the Ballarat Railway Station Precinct, or spend $9 million on an indoor stadium as part of the $37 million Eureka Precinct.
Cr Morris said there was a strong focus on economic development to keep pace with Ballarat’s rapid growth, with a projected population of 128,100 people by 2026.
“We do not want to leave either the government or the opposition in any doubt as to what the City of Ballarat is seeking,” Cr Morris said.
The plan calls for state government funding of $28.5 million to develop the 100 hectare first stage of the Ballarat West Employment Zone, $29 million to upgrade Her Majesty’s Theatre and $21.7 million for a new waste to energy facility in the region.
It says encouraging a government agency to relocate to Ballarat and the region would create an extra $195 million of annual economic activity.
Cr Morris said all the projects were deliverable and would have a big effect on the city and region.
“Ballarat is the capital of Western Victoria and is already one of Australia’s fastest-growing regional centres, with population growth nearing two per cent and a projected population of more than 128,000 by 2026,” Cr Morris said.
“After a decade of sustained growth, we are on the cusp of another significant moment in the story of our city.
“Our plan seeks to further build Ballarat as an economic powerhouse within the Victorian government’s vision of Victoria as a state of cities.
“No longer will people think of our city in terms of our grand past, but also our burgeoning future.”