Ballarat Council must proceed with plans to extend the north-south runway at Ballarat Airport.
The business case has enabled federal funding of $5 million, with matching council support.
Yet out of the blue, the council is questioning the development of one of the city's most important and strategic assets. It fails the commonsense test by a long shot.
Councillors will vote on a motion regarding the development of the airport next week. The federal funds could be lost.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been invested into Ballarat on the basis that the runway would be "lengthened and strengthened" and developed further.
The Ballarat West Employment Zone is evidence of this. The hero project has been championed by the City of Ballarat for two decades now.
It headlines as an evergreen promise of jobs and growth.
Private industries have made massive decisions to move their headquarters to BWEZ on the back of it being the site of an inter-modal freight hub.
That means rail, road and air.
The air component is key to many of these businesses.
Councillors can't one day say "we're spending millions of dollars to upgrade the airport" - attract business off the back of it - and the next day say "yeah-nah, we've changed our minds" for no apparent reason.
Via its funding, the Commonwealth demonstrated it understands the importance of an improved airport: not just as a Melbourne-Ballarat link, but a Ballarat-Australia link.
The council's foot-shuffling spotlights a serious lack of business acumen.
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The loss of Broo from BWEZ this week powerfully reminds us of the importance of attracting - and keeping - private industry.
Bureaucracies are not the crucible of enterprise.
A council that signals a lack of understanding about the building blocks of industry, and the power of opportunity, is a red flag going straight to the top of the pole.
Councillors questioning the airport plan should spend the next few days talking to users.
They might come to understand the impact of their backward-looking position.
On May 29, the mayor Daniel Moloney said: "There has to be a business case..."
There is a business case. The federal funds wouldn't have come otherwise.
Craven councillors may be swayed by the airport's annual loss of about $150,000 and the ratepayer subsidy to that amount.
On that basis, the Museum of Democracy at Eureka, MADE, should have been shut years ago.
My understanding is it loses more than $1 million a year. It's the city's own white elephant.
The airport, on the other hand, is a golden opportunity for the city's growth.
Beverley McArthur is the member for Western Victoria.