THE expansion of the University of Ballarat Technology Park will bring a new era of prosperity and vitality to Ballarat, the park’s director says.
Mal Vallance said if the second stage of the park grew at the pace of the first, it would be a major catalyst towards economic vitality.
“I think if there are more people coming into the city, more people buying homes and purchasing goods and services, that’s going to lead to increased vibrancy and vitality of our economic base,” he said.
“If we can attract people there, more often than not they’re going to live in the region and they’ll spend their disposable income within the region. We’ll keep our young people within our region.”
Planning Minister Matthew Guy this week rezoned 22 hectares of land for the $155 million Mount Helen project, which will double the scope of the existing park.
The second stage of the park, rolled out over 10 years, would accommodate 11 new development sites and another 1500 people.
Information technology will be a major focus, with the park also aiming to attract “tech-based” enterprises such as renewable energies, bio medicine and professional services with a strong online focus.
Mr Vallance said the park was already rivaling some of its metropolitan counterparts and had the potential to become one of the largest technology parks in Australia.
But for the plans to be achieved, the park has to first attract the new enterprises to Ballarat.
Mr Vallance said he was already in talks with two potential tenants and was “buoyant” about the future of Ballarat when it came to attracting and sustaining technology-based enterprises – including some of the bigger players in the market.
“This development assumes we’re going to do that,” he said.
“We’ve adopted a fairly pragmatic approach to development and we’ll certainly look to attract those that complement businesses that are already there.”