14 Oct 2015
On Tuesday 13 October CEO John Kilgour made representation on behalf of Committee to council at a public hearing on the planning application supporting the relocation of the Saleyards to Miners Rest:
“The thing that best defines the work of the Committee is that we work with our members (over 100 local and regional businesses and organisations) as well as local, state and federal governments to look beyond the horizon to achieve economic prosperity and sustainability for this region that improves the quality of life for all in our community. Our role is to stimulate debate, envision innovative solutions and advocate essential long-term planning and commitment by all levels of government. We have an equally critical role to play in making sure those responsible for outcomes are supported and held accountable for their actions.
The relocation of the Ballarat Saleyards to Miners Rest is a decision not to be taken lightly by council but it is one that must be considered in the best interests of Ballarat and the broader regional community. It is a decision that will require strong visionary leadership and a decision that could set in motion a “domino effect” for a number of significant projects across the city.
The social and economic benefits to be derived from the establishment of a major regional saleyard facility for Western Victoria, the potential relocation of the Ballarat Showgrounds to the current saleyard site and South West corner of Victoria Park, as well as opening up commercial development opportunities in Latrobe Street, are well stated and documented. This includes $180m of direct economic output and benefit each year from the agriculture sector generated from the proposed Ballarat saleyard activity.
The findings and recommendations of the independent report should give the broader community confidence that people with appropriate skills and expertise in this area has appropriately considered the proposal. The independent panel found:
- no credible reasons why this project should not proceed
- a strong case exists to modernize the saleyards that serves this region
- a strong case to keep the modernised yards in, or near, Ballarat
- the relevant environmental standards can be addressed, subject to EPA approvals
- traffic created won’t be unreasonable
- that whilst there is anxiety felt by some community members, there are no discernible social impacts that would flow from the proposal apart from some sections of the community simply not wanting the proposal to go ahead.
Therefore, Committee’s position is that unless something significantly different comes up, or totally new information is presented to council through this hearing, then our expectation is that council will take the findings and recommendations of the independent panel, endorse them and see the project through to implementation”