Matt Hernan, geology manager at the Ballarat Gold Mine, reflects: "I had to work bloody hard to get a job back in Victoria and I really want to hang onto it."
Matt grew up in regional Victoria and is now settled back home after years of fly-in fly-out life in Queensland.
Victorians know mining has not only been big in our past, but is also a big part of our present and future as a sophisticated, high-tech industry that has come a very long way since the gold rush.
Mining supports more than 88,000 jobs in Victoria and is a recognised world leader in manufacturing, engineering equipment and technology exported from regional towns like Ballarat.
One part of mining's Victorian story is the Ballarat Gold Mine, which operates underground 24/7.
More than 200 people are employed at the Ballarat Gold Mine. There are thousands more in jobs across regional Victoria in the mining equipment, technology and services sectors.
These facts may surprise Melburnians. But many locals in Ballarat region know the value of mining.
Mining makes a direct impact on the Victorian economy with the jobs it creates, and the goods and services sourced from local small business.
Workers at Ballarat Gold Mine spend most of their hard earned money in the region: in cafes and restaurants, on tradies and services and at local shops.
Mining jobs ... are just the sort of jobs we need in our regional communities. From engineers to geologists and environmental scientists, mining provides great opportunities for Victorians. Take gold and mining out of the picture in Ballarat, and we would have fewer jobs and opportunities in the region.
Mining jobs are high paying, highly skilled and mostly full-time. They are just the sort of jobs we need in our regional communities.
From engineers to geologists and environmental scientists, mining provides great opportunities for Victorians.
Take gold and mining out of the picture in Ballarat, and we would have fewer jobs and opportunities in the region.
Ballarat Gold Mine spends about $55 million each year in the region. Yet Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas wants to put it all at risk. He wants to pinch $16 million a year from across rural Victoria in a gold tax to spend on urban projects.
This makes no sense. It's just not worth the risk to jobs and the local spending in Ballarat from the mine.
The current gold royalty regime has encouraged some small but valuable projects like Ballarat Gold Mine to get going and bring with them jobs and local spending.
Rather than look at how Victoria can be more competitive to attract more mining investment, the treasurer risks killing this goose laying the golden eggs with a change in the royalty rules.
The royalty change would rip cash out of mines that go through periods of poor cash flow or need to reinvest funds in exploration and capital works to extend the life of the mine.
Regional Australians have had to cop too many hits from poorly-informed city dwellers springing policies like a new tax on gold on our industry without a skerrick of warning or consultation.
Claims that the royalty will pay for schools, hospitals and public transport don't stack up.
This money will be sucked out of the region to fund state budget shortfalls due to city infrastructure spending and Treasury's revenue forecast revisions.
Mining communities and politicians need to stand up for Victoria's mining sector. It's time to remind politicians why our regions need it and how items they use every day like smart phones and solar panels are full of minerals produced in regional Australia.
Mining is one of a number of valuable industries with agriculture and tourism in Victoria that all make up diverse regional economies.
The more industries there are, the more resilient our towns will be.
Importantly, we need to give our young people graduating from science, maths and engineering a chance at good jobs in our communities, just like the geologists at Ballarat Gold Mine.
It's not about asking for handouts. It's about better policies for the future of our regional communities and recognising that Victoria's mineral resources are there to be developed for the benefit of Victorians, not just as a source of more taxes for the government's urban spending.
James Sorahan is executive director of Minerals Council Australia-Victoria