A SITE adjacent to the Civic Hall will house a new VicRoads headquarters and relocate more than 400 jobs to Ballarat if the state government is re-elected in November.
Premier Denis Napthine announced the plan at the Civic Hall yesterday, promising that, if re-elected, the relocation would bring more than $40 million a year in extra economic benefits for the Ballarat region.
The Civic Hall would not be affected by the new building, but it is understood the two buildings could be attached.
Ballarat mayor Joshua Morris said he had called a meeting with councillors for tonight, adding the council would have to “seriously reconsider” its plans for the future of the Civic Hall site.
Dr Napthine wouldn’t say how much the relocation would cost and, when pressed, said the move wouldn’t mean jobs for the people of Ballarat, but the city would feel the “flow on effect”.
“If you’re in Ballarat you would welcome this,” he said.
“It will boost the population, it will boost the economy, it will boost the quality of life.”
He said a “world class” headquarters would be built on land adjoining the Civic Hall, on the Armstrong Street North side. Emphasising the location of the proposed building, Dr Napthine said employees would be able to easily access the headquarters via the upgraded Regional Rail Link project.
“The Regional Rail Link will provide dedicated V/Line tracks to Ballarat ... to give people the opportunity of not only securing work at the new VicRoads headquarters, but also the opportunity to live in one of the state’s greatest regions,” he said.
The Courier revealed last week that a City of Ballarat planning application for the Civic Hall had already attracted 1900 submissions.
Most submissions call for the building to be retained. Cr Morris said yesterday’s announcement “changed the game” concerning the future of the Civic Hall.