Ballarat’s big plans put before state leaders

The City of Ballarat has established a Melbourne Cup-like field of long-term priority projects that will create vital regional social, economic and employment benefits well into the future. This week, the council, with our stakeholders, took those projects and issues to the Victorian Parliament and lobbied rigorously for critical state government support to help bring them to fruition.

The projects were warmly received by both ministers and opposition MPs, who clearly share the council’s vision for a proud city that is bold, vibrant and thriving. Over the week, council was joined by many of this city’s project stakeholders, including Visit Ballarat, Sovereign Hill, Federation University, Commerce Ballarat, Committee for Ballarat, Ballarat Innovation and Industry Group, Australian Industry Group, Alstom and Ballarat Basketball, to name a few, in advocating for state government support.

A selection of the projects include:

  • Transforming the Ballarat CBD, through parking initiatives, unlocking Bakery Hill and improving active transport and safety;
  • Ballarat Link Road construction, which will open up the west and create jobs and investment through such initiatives as the Ballarat Materials and Energy Innovation Centre and the Ballarat West Employment New Energy Future Package; and
  • Integrated rail projects, which will improve rail connectivity and public transport, along with other fantastic projects like completing Mars Stadium and the Ballarat Library Community Hub and Heritage Centre.

Council, our community and stakeholders have worked diligently together for a better Ballarat. Our delegation aimed to put the projects directly in front of key decision makers and influencers in government, and, at times, to start the conversation about where we can be if we collaborate more fully. These visionary projects will ensure our collective aim to make the community a better place for all is fulfilled.

I would like to thank some of our stakeholders for their clear support.

Committee for Ballarat chief executive Melanie Robertson discussed with us the importance of a strong clear vision for the region, providing a united front to the current state government and opposition – crucial to attracting funding for key strategic projects that drive job creation and economic growth.

Similarly, thank you to Ballarat Basketball chief executive Peter Eddy. We know that it was the strength of stakeholder relationships that secured some $10 million in federal government funding recently committed to the Ballarat Sports and Events Centre, on top of the previous substantial state government commitment. It is also important for us to recognise the long-term support of Jeremy Johnson and Adrian Doyle at Sovereign Hill, and Noel Dempsey and newly appointed Visit Ballarat chair Sarah Beaumont, for backing in the growth of our tourism industry and visitor economy.

Many of the priority projects go hand in hand with new economy industries and, of course, with our tertiary institutions, including Federation University. The support provided by Professor Helen Bartlett and Chancellor Dr Paul Hemming has encouraged us further to pursue the vision for Ballarat as a genuine university city. This week, our visit to Spring Street was the beginning of the conversation and we are greatly encouraged as a council by not only the goodwill, but the genuine interest of all.

Our future in Ballarat, and this region, is bright.

Samantha McIntosh is City of Ballarat mayor. 

This story Ballarat’s big plans put before state leaders first appeared on The Courier.