BALLARAT’s population could swell to the size of Hobart or Wollongong in four decades, with City of Ballart mayor Joshua Morris saying the region would be prepared for the change.
Victoria in Future report, released by the Department of Planning on Friday, predicted the Ballarat region would swell to 266,400 people by June 30, 2051.
An extra 47,000 people are predicted to live in the City of Ballarat by 2031.
The region will grow at a greater rate than Victoria from 2016.
The report also found:
• City of Ballarat’s population will increase on average per year by 2.1 per cent between 2011 and 2021.
• Melton was the fastest growing local government area, increasing by 4.2 per cent per year.
• Families with children make up the largest household demographic in Ballarat, followed closely by singles.
• Melburnians will flock to larger regional towns like Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo, boosting Victoria’s regional population to 10 million in 2051.
Cr Morris said City of Ballarat had forward-planning strategies in place.
“In Ballarat, we have a well-planned strategy in housing and economic growth,” Cr Morris said.
“We have our growth zone in terms of residential properties in Lucas.”
Cr Morris said council’s new growth fund would bank funds to spend on new infrastructure.
“The growth fund has really enabled us to invest in significant infrastructure projects,” Cr Morris said.
“We will invest when there are opportunities to invest, whether it is by ourselves or in partnership with another level of government.”
Cr Morris said council did not rely solely on state or federal government grants as a means of funding local infrastructure projects.
He also said City of Ballarat was in discussion with other regional councils about predicted population growth.
The new population projections come in response a shift in national trends in overseas and interstate migration, births and deaths.
Victoria in Future report made population projections for regions and local government areas using the latest (June 30, 2013) population estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Census 2011 data.