Treasurer and other leaders present united front on Ballarat West Employment Zone

LEADERS from three tiers of government united behind the Ballarat  West Employment Zone as state Treasurer Michael O’Brien visited Lucas on Tuesday.

Treasurer Michael O’Brien, near the corner of Sturt Street and Dyson Drive, during his visit to Lucas yesterday. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

Treasurer Michael O’Brien, near the corner of Sturt Street and Dyson Drive, during his visit to Lucas yesterday. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

Mr O’Brien, who was in Ballarat to promote the state budget, said the major employment zone had the potential to create 9000 jobs to support $5 billion worth of investment.

“We’ve listened to the Ballarat community and through the council they’ve identified the Ballarat West Employment Zone as being on of their top local priorities,” he said.

“We know Ballarat’s a strongly growing community in terms of increased population. We’re trying to make sure Ballarat’s got the infrastructure it needs to cope with that.”

Federal frontbencher Michael Ronaldson said with $30 million from the state and nearly $10 million from the Commonwealth, the BWEZ was an important partnership to secure Ballarat’s future “not only the employment zone but within that the freight hub”.

“If you look at what has been done by the state government in the recent budget in relation to the extension of the East West Link, this will set Ballarat up for the future,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“This is the most exciting project we’ve had in the last 20 years. This will provide jobs and an alternate place for people to live.”

City of Ballarat mayor Joshua Morris said the investment was going to be critically important in supporting Ballarat’s growth.

“The state government has said they’re looking at a state of cities across Victoria, and Ballarat being the capital of western Victoria is a key part of that,” Cr Morris said.

Federal Member for Ballarat Catherine King said she was surprised to see Senator Ronaldson in town claiming credit for “Labor’s investment”.

“In last year’s budget, Labor allocated $9.1 million for the Ballarat Freight Hub to drive major economic activity in the Ballarat West Employment Zone,” Ms King said.

“At the time, the senator claimed this funding did not exist.

“This project is critical for employment in Ballarat as the city continues to grow in the years ahead and will deliver a projected 9000 new jobs and $5 billion in economic output each year.”

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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