The City of Ballarat has welcomed advice that its bid for $5million in federal funding through the Regional Airport Program has been successful.
Ballarat Mayor, Cr Ben Taylor says the upgrade of infrastructure at Ballarat Airport has been a long-held priority for Council which has worked over many years to secure funding to complete necessary work.
“Council has committed $5 million to this project – the money from the Australian Government will ensure first stage works can go ahead, work to make that happen will begin immediately. Thank you to Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Michael McCormack and to Sarah Senator Henderson for their support to deliver this funding.
“The reinstatement of the north-south runway is a foundation project for Ballarat and region; it will bring significant benefits – facilitating commercial growth opportunities, ensuring year-round access, improving regional connectivity and maximising use of a vital regional transport asset.
“This announcement will be equally welcomed by the operators at the Ballarat Airport and Councils in the Central Highlands Region, all of whom supported our application for this funding. I thank them for their support and their recognition that a redeveloped Ballarat Airport will service the entire Western Victorian region, creating jobs and bringing significant economic and community benefits”., he said.
“Once the $10 million first stage works at Ballarat Airport have been completed, we will be looking for further funding support to deliver the next stage of the airport upgrade which will involve strengthening the runway to take larger aircraft.
“A lengthened and strengthened runway is expected to accommodate an additional 14 businesses, 77 new direct jobs and 255 additional indirect jobs – above the current 100 jobs located at the site”, he said.
Cr Taylor said the announcement of $5 million in federal funding was particularly timely and extremely good news, given the release of COVID-19 financial impact data earlier this week which shows the pandemic has hit Ballarat harder than many areas in the country as measured by job losses and JobKeeper statistics.
“More than 4269 jobs have been lost in Ballarat and its immediate surrounds. More than 2000 JobKeeper applications have been lodged for the central parts of Ballarat covered by the post code 3350. This is having a devastating impact. Many areas in our municipality have been adversely affected, including areas which are already experiencing higher unemployment or lower income rates. The impacts are not just on individuals and their families – they reach far beyond the post codes listed and into the community and region more broadly. This level of job losses accounts for approximately 60% of job losses in the Central Highlands Region”.
“Government assistance to fund the delivery of major projects and initiatives in our city will help in the recovery from the impacts of the COVID pandemic. Council is working to access all available stimulus funding from the Victorian and Australian Governments and will look forward to further announcements of successful funding applications in the near future,” he said.