AMID political chaos and threats of votes of no confidence, Premier Denis Napthine announced $300,000 to help celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade and the founding of democracy in Australia.
With the turmoil in Victorian politics still unresolved, Dr Napthine took his chance to leave Spring Street and head to Ballarat for his second visit in a matter of days.
The announcement of funding comes after calls were made for extra finances to mark the anniversary on December 3.
Low crowd numbers and a lack of events in Ballarat prompted criticism of last year’s Eureka Day participation.
“I think the money will assist in making sure we commemorate what is an absolutely significant event in Victorian and Australian history,” Dr Napthine said.
“Eureka is etched in our history as the birthplace of democracy.
“It is a significant event that changed the path of history here in Victoria and in Australia.
“It is certainly very worthy of commemoration, of celebration and of recognition.”
It is expected some of the funding will be used to improve the facilities at M.A.D.E, with events to begin in July and run until December.
Last December, Ballarat MP Sharon Knight raised the issue in state parliament, calling for funding that matched the importance of not only the anniversary but M.A.D.E in general.
“The 150th anniversary was supported by the then Bracks government, which provided funding and created events and activities that engaged the participation of not only Ballarat residents but people across the state and nationally,” she said told parliament.
Dr Napthine said the celebrations would include a wide range of activities.
“I think it will be great for Ballarat overall,” he said.
“I think the activities will bring more visitors to Ballarat, more visitors to M.A.D.E, more visitors to Sovereign Hill, more visitors to the Art Gallery and to the area of Ballarat, which is the heart of our democracy,” he said.
Mayor Josh Morris said residents could expect quite a few lead-up activities across the city before the big day in December.
“There is going to be a whole range of events that are going to be aimed at a broad section of the community, so we will really be attracting people here, not just on the actual day but the lead-up to the day as well.
“We are expecting this to going to be a huge attractor of people to Ballarat.”