AN Innovation/Research and Development Centre is critical to the Ballarat West Employment Zone, according to Ballarat City councillor Judy Verlin.
Cr Verlin said she was hoping it was the “first stage in an exciting future” for BWEZ.
Ballarat City Council voted on Wednesday night to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing to set up only its second centre in BWEZ.
The IRDC will help transform Ballarat’s manufacturing base through helping start-up businesses, leveraging investment and facilitating commercialisation of new ideas.
“This hasn’t come about by sheer luck but through years of hard work,” Cr Verlin said.
“The task ahead of us now is to maximise the opportunity. This will create jobs for our community as the population continues to grow.”
Cr Verlin said manufacturing was a critically important industry in Ballarat.
“Local government cannot influence job creation but it can create an environment for business to do business.
“The opportunities for Ballarat and the wider region are enormous, not just in manufacturing but in renewable energy as well.”
Cr Verlin said it had been critical to get the key players involved in BWEZ’s first stages, similar to IBM at Technology Park.
Cr Noel Perry said BWEZ’s future was looking very good.
“Economic prosperity only comes with innovation,” Cr Perry said.
“Any company that doesn’t invest in research and development will go backwards.”