VICTORIAN Planning Minister Matthew Guy last week rezoned land for a $155 million expansion of the University of Ballarat Technology Park, saying it would secure its long-term future as a major jobs centre.
"One of the largest and most significant of its kind in Australia, the technology park is renowned for fostering innovation the sharing of ideas, resources and infrastructure," Mr Guy said, adding that the park has been regarded as a regional hub of economic activity.
"The expansion project will create up to 1,000 jobs during the construction period and employ a further 1,600 people on site once completed," Mr Guy said.
The planning scheme amendment rezones 22 hectares of land as Business 2 and applies a Development Plan Overlay for the Mt Helen project.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ballarat, Professor David Battersby, welcomed the Government's approval of the rezoning.
"This is very good news for the Ballarat community, and the University welcomes the decision by the Planning Minister to approve this expansion," Professor Battersby said.
Currently there are nine buildings within the technology park and tenants include Ambulance Victoria, Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority, IBM, iGlass Pty Ltd and the State Revenue Office.
The park also hosts numerous small enterprises and two information and communications technology (ICT) business incubators.
Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips said estimations were that for each person employed within the park, an additional service, retail or other job is created within the region.
"An expanded technology park will contribute over $700 million annually to the Ballarat region and Victorian economy, once fully operational," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
"The expansion will also provide the ability to attract new tenants and new highly skilled jobs to the park in addition to catering for growth from existing tenants."