A DOCUMENT mapping out how state and local governments should plan to deal with the soaring population expected in the region was unveiled on Wednesday.
The Central Highlands Regional Growth Plan is one of eight prepared in regional areas across the state, giving government some guidance on how to plan for the huge growth.
Ballarat’s population is expected reach 130,000 by 2031, with the city earmarked to provide many of the key services for the rest of the region.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy highlighted Ballarat as one of the fastest growing cities across the country.
“Ballarat will continue to grow as a major hub for population growth into the future,” he said.
“Ballarat is one of the fastest growing regional cities in Australia. It is one of the fastest growing of its size in the country and has recently just passed 100,000 in its metropolitan population.”
Mr Guy unveiled the plan at the Ballarat Railway Station and listed the Ballarat West Employment Zone as one of the keys to the soaring growth.
Mr Guy listed the zone as one of the most strategically important employment precincts in the state.
“We need to regionalise our population growth, but importantly we need to regionalise our job growth,” he said.
While the plan steers clear of listing new projects needed to sustain the growth, it does provide key areas for all levels of government to focus on.
Supporting technological, higher education and tourism growth were listed as important areas for focus.
“It (the plan) marks the conclusion of a long period of work by state and local governments in the area to bring a planning document to life that will see this area change fundamentally,” he said.
“It is a very important document for managing population growth, managing economic growth and identifying the transport requirements to see the Ballarat and Ararat district requirements into the future and grow sustainably.”