Major Economic Projects
Ararat Rural City is undergoing an economic and social infrastructure boom which will support growth in the region for decades to come.
Construction of the $450 million Ararat Wind Farm (AWF) has commenced and is being developed by RES Australia. The wind farm is located on rural land located approximately12 kms northeast of Ararat and will comprise of 75 turbines when completed in 2017. The wind farm will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 123,000 homes. Ararat Wind Farm will be the third largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere. The project will create 165 direct jobs during construction and 15 ongoing jobs once operational.
The Western Highway (A8) is being progressively upgraded as a four-lane divided highway between Ballarat and Stawell. It is expected that the highway upgrades will decrease travelling times between The decreased travel times in the region will benefit businesses, employees and students travelling between Ararat, Ballarat and Melbourne.
The National Broadband Network (NBN) will provide high-speed broadband access to all Australian homes and businesses, improving access and communications across regional areas. Ararat Rural City and the surrounding region, known as the broader “Horsham Cluster”, has been chosen as one of the first areas in Victoria to receive the NBN Fixed Wireless service1 .
The Murray Basin Rail Project was announced in August 2015 by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. The $416 miilion project will standardise and upgrade the entire Murray Basin rail network. Train lines from Geelong to Mildura, Manangatang, Sea Lake and Murrayville will be standardised, and the existing unused standard gauge connection between Maryborough and Ararat will be reopened. This will connect regional Victoria to the ports of Portland, Geelong and Melbourne, as well as improving freight connections to southern New South Wales and South Australia. By enabling more freight to be moved by rail, the project will increase the efficiency of the freight network, remove around 20,000 truck trips to the ports each year and keep export industries competitive. The ports of Geelong and Portland will more actively compete for bulk export freight from the Murray Basin. Major works are expected to commence in the second half of 2016 and 270 jobs will be created during construction.
The Victorian Government has announced the expenditure of $1 million to investigate the feasibility of extending the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline further into West Wimmera Shire and Ararat Rural City. The study will investigate the feasibility of extending the pipeline network to cover an area of more than 300,000 hectares as well as replacing the open channel between Rocklands Reservoir and Taylors Lake with pipeline. The investigation will be led by Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water and include hydrological assessments of water resources, design concepts for pipe supply and stakeholder and community consultation.
The $5 million upgrade will transform the existing precinct located in the Ararat Town Hall – which houses the Ararat Regional Art Gallery and the Ararat Performing Arts Centre – into a modern focal point for the region’s art activities and exhibitions. The project will refurbish and expand the Victorian-era built Ararat Town Hall, including the award-winning 1978 extension overseen by renowned architect Graeme Gunn. The redevelopment will deliver greater and more flexible exhibition, performance and storage spaces, a facility capable of exhibiting the Gallery’s permanent collection which is currently mostly in storage, and an enhanced front entrance to improve access for people of all abilities.
This report was comissioned by eight local government councils in western Victoria, and covers the area from Ararat to the South Australian border and from Yarriambiack in the north to Glenelg Shire in the south. The report deems a return to rail as not only feasible but vital for each community, their surrounding districts for more opportunity in jobs, education, health, friends, shopping and sport. The Report is based on extensive investigation, and many meetings with councillors, council officers, business leaders, educational and health services and residents in the region.