Kicking off what could be a long election campaign, federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese made an appearance in Sebastopol to promise $4.5 million for a new seniors centre if elected.
It's the first major commitment for the region ahead of the next federal election, which must take place before May.
The Sebastopol Seniors Citizens Club's centre, on Vickers Street, is part of a complex including Ballarat Community Health, the Sebastopol Men's Shed, and playgrounds and sporting grounds.
The City of Ballarat has committed $3.5 million to redevelop the 45-year-old building, which would include a new early learning centre, and space for other community groups.
The club itself welcomed the funding commitment, and secretary Bev Lovett said it was "years in the making".
"There have been plans to do something about our centre for 10 years, and it's finally happening - we have seen early plans, and I think it'll be good," she said.
"We like the location where we are now, so to be able to do something that's in this area is vitally important for our seniors, because they know where to come, they can get here easily, and they can get the interaction with each other that's so important."
The funding is conditional on Mr Albanese's Labor Party winning the next election - he told reporters it could be in December, but his preference would be March.
In regard to the funding announcement, he said he preferred the base decisions on council submissions, attacking the government for its recent scandals regarding alleged colour-coded electorate charts.
"The local community-based, bottom-up decision making is something I'm very strongly supportive of," he said.
"When it comes to support for regional grants, this will go to the council to produce something for the local community, it won't go to increase someone's profits, it won't go to support one private sector body versus another, it's where community-based infrastructure should come from."
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"One of the things about today's announcement is that a relatively modest investment is an investment in the people who will use the senior citizen's centre, who will use the early learning centre, who will use the different community organisations that will base themselves here - you get a much bigger bang for your buck."
City of Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney said Sebastopol had missed out on projects "for too long".
"It really is about bringing a whole range of different people together across activities and ages under one roof," he said.
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