This year, 2018, could well be a formative one for Ballarat.
What we know is it is a State election year and unlike the disappointing attention that was paid to the city during the last Federal campaign, these three seats, Wendouree, Buninyong and Ripon are being taken seriously by both the Government and the aspiring opposition. We know politically that the regional city seats have morphed over the years and are not the sure thing they may have been once, but nevertheless they remain politically vital to securing the critical majority . Former Premier Steve Bracks, who writes for us today, knew it well enough and rode to a surprise upset win in 1999 on that focus. Two of those seats have not changed political allegiance in the almost twenty years since that distant victory but 2018 has something different on offer; both have retiring sitting members and new aspirants for the seat. This has sharpened the appetite for a fight even more, increasing focus and potentially greater wins when it comes to following up the rhetoric of decentralisation with the weight of real commitments. And this is where Ballarat could stand to benefit . At the risk of seeming mercenary, we also know the city is at a key period in its growth and the next four years will be absolutely critical in sustaining it and ensuring the quality of the city; its character, prosperity and livability is both maintained and flourishes. State elections are also key opportunities for communities to flag the capital works which will help sustain this momentum.
Many such wishlists have come before and many of these projects are not new but that does not make them any less important to Ballarat’s future. The overall objective remains unchanged; make Ballarat the capital of western Victoria, a destination and target for business, lifestyle and tourism. The Courier has launched with the first of a dozen projects; a digestible wishlist of yet uncommitted or unfunded projects to help focus some key investments in our city. We are not maintaining the list is exhaustive, but rather a great starting point on what could make a huge difference for our future.
But its also meant to get people thinking, because it’s your chance chance to have your voice heard by all sides of the political spectrum by taking part in our survey on what matters to you. The survey asks you to rate issues as you see them. The online survey opens on Monday, 25 June, and it's quick, easy and anonymous. It could make all the difference.