Planning Minister Matthew Guy has rezoned land for a $155 million expansion of the University of Ballarat Technology Park, securing its long-term future as a major jobs centre.
"One of the largest and most significant of its kind in Australia, the technology park is renowned for fostering innovation the sharing of ideas, resources and infrastructure," Mr Guy said.
"Since 1995 the park has been regarded as a regional hub of economic activity, and now employs more than 1,500 people in 30 different businesses.
"The expansion project will create up to 1,000 jobs during the construction period and employ a further 1,600 people on site once completed," Mr Guy said.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ballarat, Professor David Battersby, welcomed the Government's approval of the rezoning.
"This is very good news for the Ballarat community, and the University welcomes the decision by the Planning Minister to approve this expansion," Professor Battersby said.
Currently there are nine buildings within the technology park and tenants include Ambulance Victoria, Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority, IBM Aust/NZ, iGlass Pty Ltd and the State Revenue Office. The park also hosts numerous small enterprises and two ICT business incubators.
Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips said the University of Ballarat Technology Park was established as an information and communications technology (ICT) hub.
Mr Rich-Phillips said estimations were that for each person employed within the park, an additional service, retail or other job is created within the region.
"An expanded technology park will contribute over $700 million annually to the Ballarat region and Victorian economy, once fully operational," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
There will be a range of benefits from the expansion of the park such as greater efficiencies of scale and increased cross-pollination of ideas and research, both between tenants within the technology park and with the adjoining university campus.
"The expansion will also provide the ability to attract new tenants and new highly skilled jobs to the park in addition to catering for growth from existing tenants," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
The amendment rezones the land to the Business 2 Zone and applies a Development Plan Overlay to address matters such as flora and fauna protection and bushfire risk. Amendment C155 to the Ballarat Planning Scheme will be available at: www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/planningschemes