Andrews on Ballarat
Growth, boom gates and post-COVID life
IN what was his first major public appearance outside Treasury Gardens since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, Premier Daniel Andrews visited Ballarat last week.
During a lengthy press conference Mr Andrews addressed a range of issues, some close to home, others further afield.
Here’s what he had to say on…
… Ballarat’s growth
“You’ve got to make sure you invest each year, every year. It’s no good having a whole bevvy of promises and not doing much about it.
“Growth is a challenge but it’s a great challenge to have. It’s much better than some parts of our country and some parts of the world where people are not happy to be there and moving away.
“Everything is on the radar, everything is looked at because anything and everything that’s important to the people of Ballarat, my team in Ballarat will make sure I know about.”
… Lydiard Street rail crossing
“It’s been a long time but it’s a complex issue. It’s been very difficult.
“I thank everybody who’s put up with the obvious inconvenience. It started with an accident, but sometimes things are a good deal more complex than they seem.
“It’s been done as fast as it can be. I know that does seem a long time… It is right in the centre of a very, very important city. It isn’t out in some wide-open space. It’s a little bit more challenging than some examples you might cite.
“Very, very soon we’ll bring this issue to an end, and I’ll be very pleased about that as I’m sure the good people of Ballarat will be.”
… local heritage
“The heritage values of this city are second to none and they are an amazing asset and they need to be protected.
“The history of this city is impressive, it’s critical to our state’s history. But it’s the future we’re focused on.
“I think you can be respectful of the past but also have something that’s safe.”
… Western Victoria Transmission Network Project
“We have an EES (environment effects statement) process, we have a consultation process that the proponent has gone and engaged in over and above the EES process. Let’s let that run its course.
“People can have their views, people can have their views heard. I’m very keen to make sure that EES process is a deep and meaningful engagement with as many people as it possibly can be.
“I understand and acknowledge there are different views and they are strongly held.”
… the State electoral redistribution
“We don’t take any seats for granted, wherever the lines are drawn. But of course, we know and understand that the people of Ballarat, this community, [has] been very good to us. And we, I’d like to think, have worked as hard as we possibly can.
“We’ll be working very hard regardless of what the notional margins are or where the boundaries are drawn.
“This is a proud city. It’s got a great history but I think it’s got an even better future if we keep on delivering.”
… winning Ripon
“We will be campaigning across the state, and we’ll be offering every single Victorian, regardless of whether their local member is from our side or the other side, whether they’re in a marginal or so-called safe seat,… a positive and optimistic agenda.”
… on Ballarat’s post-COVID role
“Our state only succeeds when big regional centres like Ballarat succeeds.
“If Ballarat is travelling well, if Ballarat’s growing… has that sense of confidence and a real spark in terms of investment and jobs, that’s when we know Victoria’s doing well.
“Ballarat won’t just be a part of COVID recovery, Ballarat will be critical to that recovery.”
… a new high school for the city
“You’ll see us have a lot more to say about a really optimistic and positive agenda for our kids and our young people, and it’s not just about school. It’s about jobs.
“I will give you my absolute commitment, I’ll be back many, many times between now and the end of next year.”
… CBD revitalisation
“Retail, face-to-face retail, has been under threat from online for a very long time.
“The CBD of regional cities and the CBD of Melbourne is going to look different in the years to come.
“I’m not here to tell traders in Ballarat how it ought to be, but I am here to listen. So it’s got to come from Ballarat to us.”
… the region’s recent storms
“I just want to thank SES and other members of our emergency services family who work so hard to respond to many, many call outs.
“Clearing trees, and dealing with storm damage, and helping those at their most vulnerable. So, thank you from me and the broader community.”