Ballarat’s priority projects

Our picks: Ballarat’s priority projects for this campaign. GRAPHIC: Kate Shepherd

Only three weeks out from polling dayBallarat is still waiting for major funding promises from the major parties.More marginal electorates areseemingly getting all the attention and visits from the leaders, while here re-announcements and national policy statementshave been more common than actual funding promises.

The Courier has put together alist of 10 projects looking for federal fundingthat would give Ballarat aboost.

Some are for big infrastructure projects–the emergency services hub at the airport and more rail funding, for example –and others arein response to a serious community need, like more supportfor mental health programs and a concrete redress scheme for survivors of clergy and other sex abuse.

The emergency services hub needs $32 million and has been recommended by the City of Ballarat and Emergency Management Victoria.

The money would go to building a new hanger, a new operations centrefor the CFA, SES and Victoria Police and runway upgrades.

The short-term benefit would be another construction project and in the long-term greater firefighting capability for Western Victoria.

Committee for Ballarat chairman Janet Dore said the emergency services hub was right for federal funding because of its capabilities.

“Out membershave been very keen on the emergency services hub as part of a national approach to disaster recovery,” she said.

“Given climate change and (recent) environmental events it would be a great thing, not only to have based here for our region, to create quite a range of jobs, from pilots and paramedics, toall sorts of people.”

The City of Ballarat has nominated Civic Hall as its number one priority for federal funding but deputy mayor Belinda Coates said they put forward a number of projects to be looked at before the election.

She highlightedthe waste to energy system for the Ballarat West EmploymentZone, which needs $2.5 million in seed funding.

“It would be an enormous long-term benefit to Ballarat to have that innovation here and the environmental benefits to divert waste from landfill,” she said.

Cr Coates said its long-term benefit would come from the jobs as well as the environmental positives.

Outside of Ballarat, Bacchus Marsh is looking for $3 million to help its Parwan Employment Precinct get started.

Moorabool mayor Allan Comrie that money would allow them to get gas into the site and start bringing jobs to the agribusiness development.

See Committee for Ballarat’s list of priority projects on page 26

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