Ballarat needs another government department, says Bracks

BALLARAT is perfectly placed to have a government department relocated here, according to former premier Steve Bracks.

While Geelong looks set to gain the head office of the Victorian WorkCover Authority if the Napthine Government wins the election, Ballarat is yet to get a mention by either political party for the relocation of potential government agencies. 

It is expected moving the headquarters of a government agency would bring economic and employment benefits to the city. 

Geelong has also gained the headquarters for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the Transport Accident Commission. 

The comments from Mr Bracks came during an in-depth interview with The Courier last week. 

“I think Ballarat can easily have one or two more significant government departments,” he said. 

Ballarat already reaps the benefits of one government agency with the State Revenue Office located in Mount Helen. 

Mr Bracks said the city was very well placed for the move, however, would not be drawn on which department could relocate to Ballarat.

“I will leave that up to my successor Daniel Andrews, I am sure he has some ideas on that,” he said. 

However, opposition spokesperson Chris Owner did not answer questions about potential candidates for relocation to Ballarat but said Labor had already unveiled a comprehensive jobs plan and more policy commitments would be made closer to the election. 

The Courier put similar questions to Denis Napthine’s office with spokesperson Mark Lee saying the Coalition Government was committed to developing a comprehensive strategy to build growth, jobs and the economy in Ballarat.

“We are committed to developing the Ballarat West Employment Zone and have recently let the tender for the construction of the first section of the $38 million link road that will service this precinct,” he said. 

“We are also working with Federation Uni to grow and expand the tech park in Ballarat’s east. 

“The government will continue to consider all options to further boost Ballarat’s economy.” 

Mr Lee said the government chose Geelong for the location of the WorkCover insurance agency because they believed it would work well with the TAC and NDIS together in the one city. 

The Ballarat Regional Capital Plan, launched at Parliament House in December, also identified encouraging a government agency to relocate to Ballarat as a key priority for the city’s future.

matthew.dixon@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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