The first Central Highlands Regional Assembly was held in Ballarat on 15 November 2016. Thank you to those who gave up a significant amount of your time on the evening to engage in a project that has never been tried before. Thank you also to those who provided their input online before, during and post assembly.

2016 Assembly Snapshot

2016 Assembly Summary

The Central Highlands Regional Assembly was held in Ballarat on 15 November 2016.

Key Messages

Economic Development

  • Visionary Investment in creative industries, incorporating heritage, arts and tourism
  • Build on BWEZ, Airport, freight, transport, air, road, rail access to global markets
  • Conversations created across the region. Learn how to collaborate properly, e.g. build collaboration skills
  • Clusters – Cross pollination across sectors. – Learn, grow, develop, innovate
  • Renewable energy, - waste to energy (Biomass), solar generation, incentive schemes, increase wind (support broad community, outside income)

Education and Training

  • Develop a clear road map from education to industry, through increased work place opportunities.
  • Create a centralised work and career exhibition centre for the state with a supporting career awareness program. “Try before you learn”.
  • Building engagement from a young age through aspirational career pathways for all students including primary aged students.
  • Learning hubs as opposed to traditional schools to support lifelong learning – cradle to the grave.

Environment and Agriculture

  • Resident attraction – supporting young people in agriculture, agricultural tourism, more food manufacturers, and value add for farm production.
  • Water – Stormwater/ waste water capture/ harvest for irrigated agriculture. . New technology to save water (waste).
  • Government funding and support for biodiversity of land.
  • Research and Extension officers in Agriculture are assets – Need to build on this, via increasing Agricultural Education in curriculum.
  • Bioenergy further development and support. Prevent burning stubbles (wheat, barley) & value add, eg Pyrenees, BWEZ.

Infrastructure and Connectivity

  • Melbourne to Ballarat in less than 60min by rail, - Greater service frequency, train station at Eureka Stadium.
  • Regional approach (Government collaboration) to prioritising infrastructure and connectivity needs so we can support economic development, growth and innovation.
  • Ballarat CBD Revitalisation – Bicycle infrastructure, walkways. Utilisation of existing infrastructure for different purposes.
  • Improved telecommunications – Drive new eco development outcomes. Create network Hi tech hubs.

Social Welfare and Community

  • An engaged group/ committee working across sectors in a systematic way to address regional and cross regional issues more regularly.
  • Give regions the power to design and run the programmes and services.
  • Investigate new models of public housing and providing housing security.
  • Innovative public transport solutions, e.g. car share scheme across region.