Committee for Ballarat wishlist for funds

THE Committee for Ballarat is set to lobby the state government for more funding for the Ballarat West Employment Zone before the May budget and November election.

In its “Advancing Ballarat and Western Region” document, the organisation says a funding injection of $15.9 million is needed to support activation of the precinct and help secure an operator for the proposed Ballarat freight hub.

It has been estimated the Ballarat West Employment Zone will provide 9200 new jobs and $5 billion in economic output.

The document, which will be released today, identifies what the Committee for Ballarat says are “non-negotiable” projects for the region.

They include $4 million for an emergency services hub, $10 million for a Biotechnology Innovation Centre and $4 million for a waste-to-energy facility.

Also identified as important commitments are $10-15 million to improve mobile connectivity on Ballarat’s rail service and $37 million for the Ballarat sports and entertainment precinct. 

Committee for Ballarat CEO John Kilgour said the organisation would be pushing hard ahead of the May budget to ensure funding was made available to the region. 

“I think the important thing here is there is consistency of messaging coming through,” he said.

“What we’re saying is these are the non-negotiables, these are the ones that are going to be the game changers for Ballarat. These are the ones that are going to future-proof our economy going forward.”

Committee for Ballarat chair Judy Verlin said discussions were also being sought with the federal government before its May budget to ensure it ticked off on $9.1 million in funding for the Ballarat freight hub. 

“We have been really well received in the conversations we’ve had with them and remain hopeful that there will be federal government funding opportunities for the freight hub in the very near future.”