Premier Ted Baillieu today announced the Victorian Coalition Government will invest $2.9 million through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund towards the University of Ballarat’s (UoB) $6.4 million Ballarat Technology Park expansion.
Addressing the Victorian Liberal Party State Council in Ballarat, the Premier said the expansion was anticipated to generate 520 jobs during construction, 1,820 jobs during the operational phase and could leverage capital investment of more than $155 million during the construction works.
“The University of Ballarat estimates the total economic benefit of this expansion to be more than $420 million,” Mr Baillieu said.
The expansion incorporates two projects including the redevelopment and refurbishment of UoB’s Brewery Building within the CBD to enable continued growth of technology-based enterprises.
The second project involves development and site construction works for another seven hectares of land at the Mount Helen Technology Park, which was recently rezoned by the Coalition Government for business use.
The UoB will invest $3.4 million toward the $6.4 million expansion.
Yesterday, Planning Minister Matthew Guy announced the Coalition Government had approved the Ballarat West Precinct Structure Plan (PSP), which includes three areas covering approximately 1,290 hectares of land across 230 existing properties incorporating the Ballarat West Employment Zone (BWEZ).
Last month the Premier announced the Victorian Coalition Government, through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, would provide $835 000 – to be matched by the City of Ballarat – for the $1.67 million BWEZ construction blueprint.
The BWEZ is a 623-hectare site strategically located adjacent to the Ballarat airport and in close proximity to new residential growth areas to the west. Once developed, the BWEZ is expected to generate 9000 jobs and approximately $5 billion in economic output for the City of Ballarat.
Now that the PSP has been approved, road, community and commercial infrastructure to support around 30,000 people in large areas to the west of the city can be developed.
Mr Baillieu said the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to supporting and developing Victoria’s regional economy, and there was an investment plan to accelerate growth in Ballarat.
“We are getting on with what we said we would do - accelerating growth in regional and rural communities is critical to Victoria’s long-term prosperity and the key to a competitive economy,” Mr Baillieu said.
“The Coalition Government has a clear plan to work with businesses and local government to deliver jobs and prosperity for regional and rural Victoria.
“The Regional Growth Fund is the centrepiece of a strategy focused on driving jobs and investment in regional communities.
“Today’s funding announcement is another commitment that shows our support for a region that understands its competitive strengths and wants to build on them, and projects such as the University of Ballarat’s technology expansion encourage investment, generate jobs, and ultimately boost the productivity of our state.”
Mr Baillieu said the 2012-13 Budget included a record investment of $199 million for regional areas with a focus on hospital upgrades, employment, infrastructure, manufacturing and making regional areas more commercially competitive through freight transport incentives.