TODAY'S special sitting of the Victorian parliament in Ballarat reinforces a strong commitment to regional centres.
The sitting is also an opportunity for people in regional Victoria to see how our elected politicians take care of business when running the state.
The Legislative Assembly meeting in Ballarat is providing the local community and visitors with a chance to see the state parliament in action.
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.
“Sometimes parliament is not the most exciting place to go but there is always a bit of theatre during visits to the regional cities,” Mr Baillieu said.
“We are doing some special stuff acknowledging the role that gold has had in the history of the state of Victoria.”
Proceedings at regional sittings are designed to reflect a typical sitting day, giving visitors an accurate indication of what normally happens when parliament sits.
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.
During today’s proceedings, community leaders including Mayor Mark Harris and University of Ballarat Vice-Chancellor David Battersby will be given 10 minutes each to talk about the value of strengthening commitment to regional areas.
Another strong commitment by the state government to the city was made on Tuesday, when the Ballarat West Employment Zone received a substantial boost through the government’s regional growth fund to provide $835,000 for a construction blueprint.
This money was matched with funding from the City of Ballarat.
During a speech to Ballarat community leaders earlier this week, Mr Baillieu said regional cities and development zones like Ballarat West were helping drive Victoria’s economy, producing one third of the state’s exports.
Once developed on the 623ha site adjacent to the Ballarat Airport, the employment zone is forecast to create 9000 jobs and approximately $5 billion in economic output.