30 Apr 2015
Ballarat requires 15,000 new jobs in the next 15 years to support the projected population increase of 35,000 new residents. The economy needs to be transformed to deliver these new jobs.
Together with the State Government and the City for Ballarat, Committee for Ballarat supported a Jobs Forum conducted in Ballarat on 30 April hosted by the Minister for Employment, the Hon Jacinta Allan, and Minister for Regional Development, the Hon Jaala Pulford (refer photo of Minister Allan opening address). The Andrews Government’s “Back To Work” plan is about working with business leaders to grow our industries and help create 100,000 full time jobs across the State.
The Ballarat Jobs forum brought together diverse business and industry sectors, including manufacturing, health, education, agri-business, trades, tourism, professional services, employment agencies and local government; to identify practical actions that will improve business success, lead to sustainable jobs growth and provide clarity around opportunities for local Government, State Government and local businesses to improve collaboration to achieve success.
Six working groups were established and each group explored their top 3 ideas to improve jobs growth in Ballarat. This included initiatives discussed centred around:
• skills development for young and mature aged and ensuring these skills are aligned to creating employment pathways that meet local business needs
• major investment in infrastructure, particularly “fast-tracking” the activation of the Ballarat West Employment Zone (BWEZ), with a key focus centred on the Bio-Economy Innovation Centre, R&D clustering and “value-add” in the agri-business sector
• CBD Revitalisation via the relocation or de-centralisation of a major government department (ie: Vic Roads), not just a relocation of existing departments currently within Ballarat, which will not create new jobs
The social, economic & environmental impacts of these initiatives were also explored including, what do we need to do that already hasn’t been done to move the opportunities forward; and what practical actions can and should be taken by Government.
As you will appreciate, the session was “fast moving” with the next steps being that all information captured at the forum being documented and placed into a single document. This document will be circulated to Ministers and participants (we will place the document for member reference on our website once released). It is envisaged that after the information in captured and shared, the State Government will work with the City of Ballarat and Committee for Ballarat to put in place an action plan so that collaboration happens, and the ideas capture are progressed.
The Ministers agreed to meet again with the group in 6 months to assess the progress of outcomes emanating from the Jobs Forum and review.