BALLARAT'S role in the development and multicultural success of Victoria has been recognised as the regional sitting of Parliament got underway this morning.
Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu used his opening address to pay tribute to Victoria’s early settlers and community leaders of Ballarat for their role in the creation of the state.
"Ballarat has of course been a significant influence on the politics of our state," Mr Baillieu said.
"The Eureka Stockade and surrounding events are etched in our history books as have been the many people from across the world who came to this region in search of gold with an ambition and focus on future generations."
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said Ballarat had an enduring sense of identity which was “strong, proud and vibrant.”
“The history of this city is the history of our state in many ways,” Mr Andrews said.
“This is a city which tells a much broader story, a story of hope, a story of great challenge, a story
of enterprise, a story of investment, a story of toil, of struggle, a story of great achievement.”
Mayor Mark Harris and University of Ballarat Vice Chancellor David Battersby used special addresses to the chamber to discuss the strength of the local community and the important role of education in the city.
Professor Battersby said 80 per cent of students at the University of Ballarat were the first members of their family to complete tertiary education.
The morning pleasantries have given way to government business in the chamber, with Ballarat MPs Geoff Howard and Sharon Knight among those making statements to the chamber.
More than 100 school students and members of the public have joined the sitting in the public gallery.
Protestors demonstrating against the Baillieu Government's cuts to the TAFE sector are expected to begin their rally around 1pm, with senior police officers already on the campus.
PROTESTERS and Members of Parliament are gathering at the University of Ballarat Mt Helen campus ahead of today's regional sitting of Victoria's lower house.
As many as 600 demonstrators are expected to give a rowdy welcome to Premier Ted Baillieu and his Cabinet on the campus this morning, with organiser Athan McCaw criticising the space allocated to the protesters.
Security is tight on the campus and Mr McCaw said demonstrators would be "corralled like animals" into a special protest area near the Founders Theatre.
"We have been told that a small patch of land is where we have to fit
500 or 600 people," Mr McCaw said.
"They haven't talked to us about it and are taking a "leave the animals in a cage approach to the protest which is ridiculous."
Mr McCaw said Ballarat had already seen three non-violent protests against the government's $300 million cuts to the TAFE sector, and that the majority of protesters were staff and faculty members from the University of Ballarat.
A large media contingent is also expected to join the sitting, which will hear from Ballarat Mayor Mark Harris and University of Ballarat Vice Chancellor David Battersby.