Twelve Central Victorian Councils have welcomed $50,000 in Victorian Government funding to help build the capacity of the region’s visitor economy, with improvements aimed at supporting a future World Heritage Listing bid for the Central Victorian Goldfields.
On behalf of their local government counterparts in Central Victoria, the Cities of Ballarat and Greater Bendigo are leading the campaign to place parts of the Central Victorian Goldfields, home to some of the world’s most significant gold rush-era sites, on the World Heritage list.
The funding, announced by Member for Wendouree, Juliana Addison at Ballarat, will support the development of a Sustainable Tourism Toolkit. This toolkit will help to identify gaps across the region to be addressed, so that tourists are encouraged to visit the entire region, allowing the tourist dollar to be shared evenly.
“This funding supports the campaign for World Heritage Listing of the Victorian Goldfields. If successful, the listing will bring significant social and economic benefits to our region by creating tourism opportunities and local jobs,” Ms Addison said.
The consortium of Councils and project co-funder, the Victorian Goldfields Tourism Executive, will use the funds to conduct community and industry engagement across the Central Victorian Goldfields region and bring in expert advice to develop the bid.
Civic leaders say the possibility of achieving a world heritage listing for the Central Victorian Goldfields is just the incentive needed to unlock the region’s full tourism and jobs potential, and to define the region as a significant tourism destination globally.
“We know that World Heritage Listings are a stimulus for socio economic development and bring unique opportunities for communities to diversify their local economies,” Ballarat Mayor, Cr Ben Taylor said.
Cr Taylor said the news couldn’t come at a better time. We know we have a great product and if successful, this will bring international attention, as well as funding for ongoing conservation and investment into the region.
Greater Bendigo Mayor, Cr Margaret O’Rourke said she looked forward to the community engagement and toolkit being completed.
“The findings of this work will be very helpful in ensuring our region is ready for a World Heritage Listing. We want to ensure the benefits of the sought-after listing are shared and this work will help to attract future funding to equip communities throughout the Goldfields to welcome visitors and grow a strong regional economy,” Cr O’Rourke said.
The two regional Mayors thanked the Victorian Government for recognising the unique potential of the Central Victorian Goldfields and its strong endorsement of the consortium’s regional development approach to the bid.
The consortium represents close to half a million people spread over nearly 40,000 square kilometres, 17% of the state.
Local Governments and the Victorian Goldfields Tourism Executive have collectively committed $200,000 over two years to progress the World Heritage Listing bid, which if successful is conservatively estimated to deliver $25 million annually into the local economy. The region’s local governments are now working to identify further funding required to progress the bid.
The Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage bid local government partners are: Ararat Rural City, Campaspe Shire, Central Goldfields Shire, City of Ballarat, City of Greater Bendigo, Golden Plains Shire, Hepburn Shire, Loddon Shire, Macedon Ranges Shire, Mount Alexander Shire, Northern Grampians Shire and Pyrenees Shire Councils.