Last week Commerce Ballarat hosted a forum for the Ballarat business community with our council candidates. It was interesting and beneficial to listen to the opinions of those who may soon direct the future of this city. Ballarat is a beautiful city with a vibrant and active business community. Commerce Ballarat is one of the largest and most active chambers of commerce in the state and we are pleased to represent 400 local businesses offering a wide range of opportunities and services including the Ballarat Business Excellence Awards and the b2b Buy Local Campaign.
The impression that some people are portraying is that our city is broken and needs to be fixed: this is a far too negative attitude.
There have been many positive initiatives over the past four years by this council and its officers which are now showing results. Commerce Ballarat believes that, for a healthy city and business community, we always need to strive for improvement but must not forget to celebrate and acknowledge previous achievements.
The City of Ballarat Economic Development Strategy provides a focus for the future of our city, sitting under this are other planning initiatives such as the CBD Strategy which is now bearing fruit with many new exciting businesses to open between now and Christmas.
The Western Growth Area and Employment Zone are crucial to the future of a city that will increase in population by 30,000 in less than 20 years. This planning initiative continues to be an immense achievement for the Economic Development Unit at the City of Ballarat and they should be proud that it now has solid support from both state and federal governments.
Aspirations are very important, but they need to be tempered with practicality and reality. We now have a strong foundation on which we can build. Commerce Ballarat calls on all candidates to acknowledge the positive results from the past and ensure they are fully conversant with the planning and strategies which are in place.
In November we begin the process of working together as a team, councillors, the chief executive, City of Ballarat officers, business groups and our community so that the initiatives from the past can continue and combined with vision from our new Council become realities for the betterment of our city and its future residents.