Committee for Ballarat staff and our Future Shapers 2023 recently attended the Regional Australia Institute’s (RAI) Regions Rising National Summit in Canberra. The Summit was attended by over 300 leaders from around Regional Australia, with speakers from government, industry, business, and the community.
Key themes emerging from the Summit were the opportunities for transformational change in regional areas, including the transition to a decarbonised renewable energy economy, jobs and skills, and population growth. It is not surprising that housing availability and affordability were a constant topic when considering the challenges regional Australia faces as we see our population grow.
For Ballarat and our Central Highlands region, housing continues to be a key issue. I invite all readers to contribute to the consultation process of the recently released City of Ballarat DRAFT Housing Strategy. It is a key strategy and will help define how our region grows in the period 2023 – 2041.
Housing availability is just as critical beyond the City of Ballarat and desperately needed in our surrounding Local Government Areas (LGAs) Pyrenees, Golden Plains, Hepburn, and Moorabool. Committee will play its role in the coming months with our five regional LGAs, Regional Development Victoria (RDV), State Government, and other key stakeholders to ensure our region benefits from the $1b Regional Housing Fund committed to following the decision to cancel the Commonwealth Games. This fund is designed to deliver more than 1300 new homes across regional Victoria as a legacy to the Games and Committee will be advocating to ensure our region gets its fair share of these new homes.
Further insights from the RAI Summit were that decisions are best when made in collaboration and with a specific ‘Place Based’ focus. In our region, Committee will continue to collaborate with its members and other key stakeholders, to make the most of opportunities for development and innovation. The recently announced Regional Precincts and Partnership Program, (rPPP) administered by Minister Catherine King’s department is a great example of this.
The rPPP fund provides an opportunity to support transformative investment in regional Australia, tailored to local needs. To be successful we do need to establish a shared vision for the key project/s that will transform our region. This is best achieved if we can establish a Strategic Partnership that includes local government, business, industry, and the wider community. Committee will continue to play its role in contributing to such a partnership.