Ballarat gets just 3 per cent of Regional Growth Fund

BALLARAT has received less than 3 per cent of a state government fund for regional Victoria, with Geelong, Mildura and Wodonga all winning bigger shares.

As part of the $365 million Regional Growth Fund, Ballarat has received $9.7 million towards 26 projects, including $1.2 million to replace the Magpie Bridge and $2.9 million for the Ballarat Technology Park. 

Spokesman for Regional and Rural Development Minister Peter Ryan, Les White, said the shortfall had not come from the state government, with every application for funding in Ballarat approved.

“Most applications to the Regional Growth Fund are sponsored by local councils, and are carefully developed in concert with Regional Development Victoria,” he said.

“The idea of the fund is that local communities put forward the projects that are best for them.”

City of Ballarat acting chief executive officer Neville Ivey did not say why the council had not applied for more grants as part of the fund.

“Council continues to be proactive in seeking funding from all levels of government for projects in our city,” he said.

Mr Ivey pointed to the recently launched Ballarat Regional Capital Plan as evidence that it was actively pursuing funding commitments ahead of this year’s state election.

"Council continues to be proactive in seeking funding from all levels of government"

He said it aimed to attract more than $800 million of private and public investment to projects in Ballarat. 

Committee for Ballarat chief executive officer John Kilgour defended Ballarat’s record in winning funding from state government, pointing to election commitments such as the Western Link Road.

He said many projects that could be funded were not “shovel ready”, however there was now a clear strategy for what the city needed from government.

“The foundation has been laid and it’s about activation and delivery. The next 12 months is about securing funding,” he said.

According to the state government, money from the Regional Growth Fund has been matched by other investment to create a total spend of $20.9 million in Ballarat and $1.5 billion across the state.

tom.cowie@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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