An engine room for growth in regional Victoria

Read the video transcript

A $30 million initiative between the Victorian Government and the City of Ballarat to create jobs and support the region’s economic growth.

Tucked in close to the Western Highway, an airport and railway line, the Ballarat West Employment Zone (BWEZ) is only just hitting it strides.

A $30 million initiative between the Victorian Government and the City of Ballarat, BWEZ was created to support the region’s economic growth over the next 20 years.

The precinct delivers 400 hectares of industrial land for large-scale businesses.

The first stage of the subdivision of land was completed in 2016, with stage 1B completed in 2019.

The new tenancies established onsite contribute to more than 600 jobs across a range of businesses.

Strategic move

Victorian producer Luv-a-Duck recently opened a state-of-the-art processing facility in the precinct, employing 70 people.

For CEO James Thompson, the decision to expand to Ballarat was a no-brainer.

“The business made the strategic decision to build a standalone facility that allowed for growth and Ballarat was the preferred destination,” James explained.

“It’s located on our trade route, through to the Melbourne markets and other interstate markets and it provided an opportunity with a strong solid employment base in food manufacturing.”

“We’ve got in excess of $6 million in wages that families are spending across the Ballarat community; staff enrol their kids in local schools and participate in local sport, so they become very much part of the Ballarat community,” he added.

Boosting the regional economy

City of Ballarat Mayor Daniel Moloney said the potential for the area to grow across a range of industries was significant for Ballarat.

“Already we’re seeing over 100 new that jobs that have come to this area, but the exciting thing is what’s about to come. That’s where, really, we start to see that manufacturing is far from dead, there’s still a huge potential for it here in Australia,” Cr Moloney said.

“Every regional economy learned during the pandemic that you need to diversify, you can’t be too strong in one particular sector. We’re fortunate here in Ballarat, we’re strong across healthcare, education, retail and tourism but we also have a strong manufacturing base and this is where BWEZ really comes into play.

“That diversification across a regional economy is so important to build resilience."