YOU could be forgiven for thinking Ballarat was in the midst of a state election campaign as Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and his senior ministers continued their charm offensive in the region yesterday.
With nearly 20 press releases relating to Ballarat this week alone, ministers have fanned out across town to announce new projects as diverse as road safety, greyhound racing, tourism and manufacturing.
Mr Baillieu used a press conference in Mt Helen to call out Victoria’s striking teachers, rebut Prime Minister Julia Gillard over an industrial relations dispute in Melbourne’s CBD and predict a successful sitting of parliament at the University of Ballarat today.
Later he joined a coach tour of a new construction materials processing plant at Dunnstown where Boral will produce construction materials for the company’s concrete and asphalt businesses and local civil and commercial contractors.
The new $30 million facility produces 650,000 tonnes of construction materials annually.
A highly visible security detail has escorted Mr Baillieu since he arrived in Ballarat on Tuesday, with Victoria Police and protective service officers present at all events.
With a number of controversial issues on the government agenda this week, officers spoke to members of the public at the site of at least two announcements seeking to avoid protests.
Mr Baillieu and deputy premier Peter Ryan launched the newly established Ministerial Road Safety Council at the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority yesterday.
“Last year, 287 people died on our roads in Victoria,” Mr Baillieu said.
“For decades now Victoria has led the way on road safety initiatives, for decades we have been the first jurisdiction in the world to make wearing seatbelts mandatory and the first state to introduce random breath testing, both of which have saved countless lives,” he said.
State Water Minister Peter Walsh and Treasurer Kim Wells used a visit to Creswick to announce flood mitigation works in partnership with Hepburn Shire Council.