ECONOMIC development in Ballarat will suffer if a series of recommendations by the RACV are ignored by both sides of politics.
The Ballarat region would need more than $700 million in transport funding over the next 10 years to handle rapid population growth, according to the new report.
A total of $4.6 billion would be needed across the state, with the report listing a variety of projects in Ballarat in particular.
These include $606 million for the completion of the Western Highway duplication, $90 million for the completion of the Ballarat Western Link Road, and a $7 million upgrade of Ballarat-Buninyong Road and Yankee-Flat Road.
RACV general manager of public policy Brian Negus said the report had included input and discussions with VicRoads, Public Transport Victoria, local residents and the City of Ballarat.
“The clear message we got is that people choose to live in regional Victoria for liveability, lifestyle and job growth and if we don’t have the key links, like the Western Freeway, then economic development will suffer,” he said.
The report doesn’t just stick to road improvements, advocating for improvements to the Ballarat train line and $25 million in funding for the Ballarat Railway Station.
In particular, Mr Negus said the predicted population growth of Ballarat meant key connections between the city and other parts of the state highlighted the importance of funding these projects in particular.
The report also makes mention of improving the bus network throughout Ballarat’s central business district.
Advocacy group Regional Cities Victoria also threw its support behind the report, urging both the state government and the opposition to take the proposal into consideration.
“RCV is firmly of the belief that improving roads and public transport in regional Victoria will lead to a more thriving, diverse and economically sustainable Victoria,” RCV chair Michael Neoh said.
The report is available on the RACV’s website.