In the lead-up to the federal election, we have one simple message for those who seek to represent us – we urgently need investment in projects that will create jobs in our region.
Our population is set to grow significantly over the next 30 years. The fact that people are attracted to our great lifestyle and affordable housing comes as no surprise.
Plus, with Melbourne’s growing congestion problems, investing in regional cities is the answer.
We need projects that will lead to job creation – it’s all about jobs!
To make it as easy as possible for you, we’ve identified three areas to focus on in the immediate future. These are aligned with local government priorities.
We need new jobs
The real opportunity here over the next few years lies in the development of an emergency services hub at the Ballarat Airport as part of the national disaster recovery network.
We’re calling for a commitment to fund this multi-million dollar project, which is estimated to create up to 100 jobs and inject $43 million into the local economy during construction plus ongoing jobs and $2.5 million annually.
We’ve all seen the devastating impact of serious fires on regional communities in recent summers. Not only does Ballarat Airport have the existing infrastructure for a much-needed expanded aviation firefighting service, its central location makes it an ideal choice for an inter-agency emergency services hub.
We need to stimulate private sector jobs
We know that reliable connectivity is essential to enable people to run good businesses and improve productivity.
If we’re serious about attracting more private sector investment, we need better access to and from Melbourne, the ports and the markets.
We’re calling for a commitment now to fund new rail and road infrastructure.
Anyone who takes the train will know all too well about the gaps in the current service, but the much bigger problem is the lack of long-term planning. A 59-minute service is completely possible, and we are going to need more and more services over the next 30 years, but these are not going to happen if we don’t invest in the infrastructure now.
Similarly, anyone who travels to Melbourne by car will be all too familiar with the gridlock caused by the West Gate Bridge bottleneck.
We need a staged, long-term investment into the duplication of the entire rail line between Southern Cross and Ballarat. We welcome the recent commitment of $518 million from the state government that will see the duplication of the line between Deer Park and Melton and more passing loops – this is the start of our long-term vision.
And we need funding for a desperately needed second river crossing into Melbourne from the west.
We need to attract jobs of the future
The proposed waste-to-energy facility in Ballarat West will give our region a competitive advantage in a growing clean-tech industry.
We’re calling for a funding commitment to build it.
It’s about much more than a solution to the pressing environmental challenges of increasing levels of municipal waste and a growing demand for energy.
This is an opportunity for Ballarat to become known for innovation and new technologies that will attract private sector investment and lead to new economy jobs.
So, one message…jobs, jobs, jobs here in the Ballarat region.