The City of Ballarat Council is set to commence work on a new strategic master plan to ensure the Ballarat Airport meets its full potential into the future.
The Council says the significant aviation facility, which services Ballarat and Western Victoria, has great future prospects to further drive economic growth in the region and provide tangible benefits for the community.
The facility’s current Ballarat Airport Master Plan was prepared in 2013 and requires updating to reflect recent works undertaken and works currently planned at the site, the Council said in a statement.
Mayor, Des Hudson said Council looked forward to hearing from the community about how the airport should develop.
“The development of the new strategic master plan will recognise the airport as a valuable community asset which also has historical significance,” he said.
“The airport plays an economic role in Ballarat while accommodating emergency services and a wide range of community clubs.”
He said a central focus of the Ballarat Airport Strategy and Master Plan 2024 will be whether establishing enhanced connectivity through the commencement of direct interstate passenger flights to an upgraded Ballarat Airport will encourage increased visitation to the region.
Ballarat is one of the few Australian top 50 localities by population that does not have a scheduled passenger and freight airline service. This reduces the city’s connectivity to other major population centres, like Sydney and limits the ability for people to visit Ballarat without having to transit through Melbourne, said Mayor Hudson.
Additionally, Ballarat and the Western Victorian region contain world-class visitor experiences that, for many travellers, are difficult to reach, he said.
“The usage of aviation within the operations and supply chains of Ballarat’s businesses will also be considered, so that the airport can be developed to better serve their needs.”
Council is considering the next stages of development for the airport which is contingent upon developing a strategy to establish defined roles and activities appropriate for Ballarat’s status as a large regional city with significant population growth forecast.
This year work has been undertaken to extend the airport runway to bring it to an operating length of 1800 metres, which will ultimately allow for larger commercial, aerial firefighting and emergency services aircraft and increase opportunities to attract new aviation businesses to the airport.
This was the first stage of infrastructure upgrades proposed for Ballarat Airport in the 2013 Master Plan, which will improve transport connections to the region, increase productivity for our businesses while stimulating economic growth and creating new jobs, said Mayor Hudson.
Consultation for the Ballarat Airport Strategy and Master Plan 2024 will open on 2 November to consider the future roles and capabilities of Ballarat Airport.
The consultation will also seek to establish how the impact of aircraft operations can be best managed for Ballarat residents now and into the future.