STATE Cabinet will meet in Ballarat today, as Baillieu government ministers continue a high-visibility tour of the region ahead of tomorrow’s special sitting of the Victorian Parliament.
Speaking on the first day of the visit, Premier Ted Baillieu encouraged Ballarat residents to join the public gallery at the University of Ballarat Mt Helen campus as a full day of parliamentary business takes place for the lower house.
“Sometimes parliament is not the most exciting place to go but there is always a bit of theatre during visits to the regional cities and something extra special,” he said.
“We are doing some special stuff acknowledging the role that gold has had in the history of the state of Victoria.”
Security is expected to be tight as protesters will use the visit to call for cuts to the Victorian TAFE sector to be reversed and construction workers, unions and the government clash over conditions on a Melbourne building site.
Mr Baillieu said the tradition of regional sittings had been an initiative of the previous Labor government, with the first regional sitting taking place in Ballarat in August 2001.
That sitting was the first meeting of any Australian legislature outside of a capital city.
The Legislative Assembly sitting will begin at 9.30am with special addresses from Mr Baillieu, opposition leader Daniel Andrews, mayor Mark Harris and Ballarat University vice-chancellor David Battersby.
Question time will take place at 2pm, with government business and an adjournment debate to close by around 5pm.
Mr Baillieu said regional sittings provided residents outside metropolitan Melbourne the opportunity to see their elected representatives at work and to learn about parliamentary processes.
Proceedings at regional sittings are designed to reflect a typical sitting day, giving visitors an accurate indication of what normally occurs when parliament sits.
A shuttle bus will take visitors to the university campus from Ballarat Railway Station, operating between 9.30am and 3.30pm.