Ballarat City Council has framed its economic development around an aspirational population of 200,000 by 2040.
Ballarat City mayor Samantha McIntosh told 120 delegates at the National Economic Development Conference council has planned for the predicted population growth.
“We know that the population is a challenge at the moment, and we’ve had a very strong growth pattern over the last decade, and we know that it is being pushed moreso with state and federal government’s focus on decentralisation,” she said.
“Only when the demand is there will developers proceed, but we want to plan now so we’re not having to be reactionary.”
Economic Development Australia chairman Mark Holdsworth said every city needs to develop a narrative about what it wants to be in the future.
“Just by hosting this conference, Ballarat is really making a statement about its growth and putting itself in the spotlight,” he said.
“If the number is 200,000 people, you’ve got to put in a lot of plans and lot of infrastructure to support them.
“It means you’ve got to have an investment attraction strategy to provide those jobs, because people won’t just come here because it's a cool place to live or it has nice houses.
“Ballarat essentially has a room of free consultants here, people who bring a wide range of experience and will, through formal and informal conversations, contribute to an understanding of what steps Ballarat will take to accept its growth.”
Delegates will undertake a tour of Mars Stadium and the Ballarat Western Employment Zone on October 13.
Economic Development Australia executive officer Jacqueline Brinkman said the three day conference was “truly national”, with a mix of leaders from around the country.
“The delegates understand the levers for growth and how to develop competitiveness in regional areas,” she said.
“So the conference is really about bringing those people together, sharing knowledge and lifting the performance of economic development in Australia.”
Read about the growth happening in Miners Rest right now.