Hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars could be generated if smaller towns near Ballarat are linked to a sewer network, according to Moorabool Shire Council.
Moorabool has been campaigning for major upgrades in Bungaree and Wallace, just to the east of Ballarat, which are still reliant on septic systems that inhibit growth.
According to a council media release, economic modelling with current figures show there's the potential for 345 new jobs and up to $50 million in "local economic value" with extra dwellings.
The media statement notes the towns already have most of the infrastructure required to generate residential growth, but a reticulated sewerage system "will provide the stimulus needed for 1343 new dwellings and 3500 new residents".
Council has allocated $1 million to the project, which is expected to cost $10m, and is hoping to begin work within five years, according to mayor Tom Sullivan.
"Building new homes will create hundreds of construction and local jobs over the next 10 to 20 years and these workers and the new residents will spend locally, benefiting the whole region," he said in a statement - the extra capacity could help relieve pressure on nearby Ballarat as well.
"Growth of these towns is going to be gradual, but it won't happen at all unless we can connect the towns to a reticulated sewer system.
"Everything else needed for a strong and sustainable community is in place with easy rail and road access to Ballarat and Melbourne, high quality recreation facilities and a school."
Partnerships will be required with the state government and Central Highlands Water to secure full funding for the project, and to get planning under way.
CHW's managing director Paul O'Donohue said in a statement the organisation has proposed a way forward to work with council, with "a work plan of agreed actions and activities".
"This will build knowledge on the concept design work previously undertaken by the parties," he said in a statement.
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"The work plan also outlines the responsibilities for the pre-planning that would need to be undertaken including strategic and land use planning, sizing of the service area(s), infrastructure design and costings, community engagement and support needs, along with staging and financing of infrastructure works."
Council has also written to Acting Water Minister Richard Wynne seeking support for the project.
Last month, council launched a campaign featuring voices from the community, including Bungaree Football Netball Club's Andrew Mahar and long-time resident Jo Frawley, as well as the Wallace Hotel, calling for a modern system to stop the towns dying a "slow death".
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