Ballarat City Council released its latest Community Perceptions Survey on October 4. The survey was conducted in February/March 2019 and was done via phone interviews by a third party firm with 836 random residents of Ballarat. It is the "people's survey."
We who live here know that Ballarat is a wonderful and picturesque place to live. We have a well-established history and a great brand.
We also have good community minded people who put up their hand to serve in many community roles for the love of Ballarat.
Our councilors are examples of this and we thank them all for their time and effort.
In the above mentioned survey, there are some really positive aspects of life in Ballarat for which we need to be thankful.
I need to be really clear that in writing this piece I, in no way wish to blame any individual councillor or City of Ballarat staff. They are all doing their best and need support from the community at large.
My intent is to take some facts from a report card that is not often read in detail by most citizens.
The challenge is to get us all to think differently about what roles Ballarat leaders can take to ensure a vibrant Ballarat in 2050.
To do this, we need to address some concerns in the people's survey about the reality of Ballarat's future vision. After all, the survey is "our" report card.
Studying the relevant key results around Ballarat's future vision the report states:
"When asked if they agreed Ballarat was heading in the right direction...there was a moderate level of agreement ... reflect an overall decrease in agreement that Ballarat is heading in the right direction."
"How do you rate your agreement that Ballarat ... Good access to public transport ... Good employment opportunities"
Both of these two items not only scored the lowest score of 21 items, but their results were static or dropping year on year.
"How would you rate the performance of council for ... strategic planning" This item was a very poor 15th out of 16.
In other words, poor strategy, poor transport and mediocre direction ... they don't sound like winning strategies for the future of Ballarat.
In an opinion piece on August 10 titled "Ballarat needs to think big and entrepreneurial", the case for better strategic thinking, more jobs, more entrepreneurship was strongly argued. There are many talented and successful business strategists in Ballarat, who we need right now to influence our future.
If our results on strategy, vision and our future matter, these people need to step to the fore and help drive our city.
We need less talk and behind the scenes "chatter". We need more concrete involvement from those who count.
The future though depends on thinking big, an entrepreneurial attitude, strategic thinking, and chasing investments for the city.
On the whole we are all positive about Ballarat otherwise we would just move elsewhere. The people's survey supports our positiveness.
What we need now is a focused mindset on growing our companies, jobs, our industry.
Some of the areas to look at include:
- More about attracting big and mid-size companies to relocate to Ballarat
- More action on getting entrepreneurs to create companies and more jobs
- More about financial investment for 'new technology factories' and high tech nodes of excellence
- More about fast rail to and from Melbourne to ensure businesses can easily move between the two cities for work
- More about driverless buses with efficient bus networks and driverless buses that serve all of Ballarat
- More about big economic development projects that ensure jobs in Ballarat
- The development of high tech agricultural solutions right here in the heartland of agricultural production in Western Victoria.
If we do these things, we help the whole community. As more businesses, jobs and individual wealth creation happen it means less problematic social issues.
There can then be hope for those who need it, money to buy food, and the ability to move around easily.
I understand that some of you may not want Ballarat to change too much.
However, population growth is coming and we need to create the jobs for our new communities in order to maintain the quality of life we currently enjoy. Nelson Mandela can help us here:
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it ... the brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
"We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make the difference."
Let us all not fear getting involved in making Ballarat an even better place.
Come on, Ballarat, we can do this. We are all trying to do our best.
We can do better by moving our strategic thinking.
We can find a better mindset. Come on strategists step up. We have to think big. All of us.
59 Minute Nick (Beale) is a transport advocate. Subscribe to the weekly 59MinuteNick newsletter by emailing: email@example.com