As the introduction of a carbon tax as a precursor to a carbon trading scheme will inevitably drive the cost of fossil fuel derived energy up, we will work with the City of Ballarat and surrounding shires in their efforts to introduce bio-energy as a complementary source of energy for both industrial and residential consumption.
In addition, we will work with all stakeholder groups to identify emerging risks and opportunities associated with sustainable environmental management and living with a changing climate, as well as actively contribute to any proposed changes in regulatory frameworks.
While climate change will present some challenges, it will also provide opportunities to innovate and to lead the way. This will result in new industries, new jobs and new ways of living.
We will communicate and strongly advocate on climate change initiatives that support sustainable environmental, social and economic growth in Ballarat and the greater regional community.
The Ballarat region’s population is projected to increase by 54,000 to 223,500 by 2031 (DPCD, Victoria in Future 2012).
We support regional development and investment that will consolidate Ballarat’s position as the Capital of Western Victoria as our regional communities look to Ballarat to meet their higher order retail, service, business, institutional, entertainment, recreation and cultural needs.
We advocate for planned economic growth and diversification to create a ‘high tech’ and knowledge-base regional economy. This includes higher education, health services, research, manufacturing, information technology and business services that will grow, integrate and evolve to generate significant new investment and highly skilled jobs.
Given that Committee for Ballarat supports the global position on the need to respond quickly and effectively to dangerous climate change, it is important that Committee takes a position on renewable energy.
While Australia has huge reserves of coal, which provide relatively cheap energy for nearly everyone in Australia, the worldwide trend against the burning of fossil fuels is beginning to have an impact on consumer households and industry.
Committee believes that in the near future, renewable energy will become a significant and growing contributor to the energy mix, potentially culminating in an end to burning coal to produce electricity.
Rather than viewing it as a threat, Committee believes that a move to a greater reliance on renewable energy will be a boon to the local economy as Ballarat and the surrounding region has already established a strong wind sector, a high penetration of rooftop solar and a nascent, but cutting-edge bio-energy capability, and there is increasing interest in converting waste material into energy.