Ballarat technology park to revitalise SMB campus

FEDERATION University’s new $2.1 million Ballarat Technology Park could be a stepping stone for further commercialisation of the former SMB campus, its director said yesterday.

The CBD-based park, which opened yesterday, was also expected to create 200 new jobs for Ballarat and attract new and emerging technology-based businesses to the city. 

Speaking at the facility’s opening, Ballarat Technology Park director Mal Vallance said further opportunities may exist in the future. 

“This is not the only thing we will be doing,” he said. 

“The university is interested in investing further in the adaptive re-use of some of its buildings to improve education, commercial and community opportunities in the area.”

The state government contributed $500,000 to the cost of constructing the facility, which offers 30 premium offices for lease, of which 40 per cent have already been filled.

Mr Vallance said he hoped the new facility would help keep university graduates in Ballarat by providing job opportunities for them.

Ballarat mayor Joshua Morris said businesses had been crying out for high-quality office space in Ballarat. 

“What it really highlights is that we have a need for a really high standard office space in our CBD,” he said. 

“So we are very excited about the development there.”

Premier Denis Napthine was also on hand for the opening during his visit to Ballarat and called the opening a “significant day” for Ballarat and regional Victoria. 

“This is about how you grow jobs and opportunities into the 21st century,” Dr Napthine said. 

“This builds on the success of the Ballarat Technology Park at Mount Helen.”

Dr Napthine said the fact 40 per cent of the offices had already been leased even before they were advertised showed the need for entrepreneurial and start-up businesses in regional areas. 

The Mount Helen Technology Park generates about $300 million a year in economic output.

Federation University's SMB campus. FILE IMAGE

Federation University's SMB campus. FILE IMAGE