Ballarat readies for regional growth: Community collaboration drives recovery

An inaugural whole-of-city marketing approach leveraging the surging opportunities to live, work, study, visit and invest in Ballarat was unveiled this week at The Art Gallery of Ballarat.

The program is a major new collaboration between the City of Ballarat, Commerce Ballarat, Ballarat Regional Tourism and Committee for Ballarat and spearheads a united approach to converting regional growth and economic development in Ballarat. The central foundation of the program is engagement of the thriving local community to drive a strategy which will expand the visitor demographic, attract new skills and businesses, and broaden opportunities for economic growth.

“The whole-of-city collaboration has led to the development of new ways to celebrate our people and values,” said Mayor Cr Daniel Moloney. “The critical drivers of the collaboration are to celebrate the values of our community, a growth strategy that attracts those looking to live, work, study and invest in Ballarat, and a tourism marketing program that brings visitors to our city,”, he concluded.

In early 2021, city leaders worked together to refine a series of initiatives to catapult Ballarat’s recovery from the impacts of 2020. The creation of ballarat.com.au, a central site for information on living, working, investing and studying in Ballarat, bolsters awareness of the city’s capabilities and is the first phase of the whole-of-city program.

In addition, City of Ballarat Chief Executive Officer Evan King unveiled the We Are Ballarat Ambassadors who are the local and national champions of the campaign. The Ambassadors are a diverse range of leaders who inspire, care, create and make the city of Ballarat what it is today. A pivotal feature of the collaborative marketing approach, the ambassadors will participate in sharing the strengths of Ballarat in their spheres of influence and add a voice to the campaign messages and participate in local business events.

The We Are Ballarat ambassadors are (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Dr Michael Akindeju (Ph.D, CEng, CChem, RPEQ) is Director and Principal Consulting Process Engineer MKPro Group and President of the Ballarat African Association
  • Tim Bone is owner of Ballarat-based Tim’s Toasties
  • Gorgi Coghlan is a television broadcaster, presenter and owner of The Provincial & Lola
  • Dr Deanne Gilson holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) focused on Aboriginal Women’s Business from Deakin University
  • Mr Mark Guirguis is an Ear Nose & Throat Specialist at ENT Ballarat and Trustee of Art Gallery of Ballarat Foundation
  • Steve Moneghetti AM competed for Australia at four Olympic Games, four Commonwealth Games and six World Championships
  • Sara Quon is Chief Executive Officer at Sovereign Hill Museums Association and serves on the Board of Visit Victoria and Committee for Ballarat

Dr. Kim Houghton, from Regional Australia Institute addressed industry leaders at the launch event saying: “There’s been a real shift in the regions. Low skilled jobs dominated 10 year ago.” In Ballarat almost half the job vacancies are for highly skilled trades and professionals including the technology, engineering, construction, medical and legal sectors. According to Dr Houghton, if these jobs are filled, it can “create a spiral of success” bringing in the soft infrastructure like healthcare and education that make regions more attractive to other employers.

The initiatives support the commitment the city has to prepare for the recovery and growth of Ballarat, and represent a new way of working to achieve the common goals for the city.

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