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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Page: 1275

Ms KING (BallaratParliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport and Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing) (09:57): I want to talk briefly this morning about a fantastic town in my electorate which, like many towns, is within easy striking distance of the major metropolitan city of Melbourne and the regional city of Ballarat and is becoming a very attractive place for many people wanting to move away from the busyness of the city. There are several such towns throughout my electorate. I have Daylesford, Clunes, Trentham, Creswick and Bacchus Marsh, but today I want to talk a little about Ballan.

Ballan is just over 40 minutes from Melbourne and 20 minutes from Ballarat along the Western Highway and the Ballarat-to-Melbourne railway line. It has a park-and-ride railway station which services not only Ballan but the many commuters from communities as far away as Daylesford. I know that people are grateful for the service, though they would like it improved, but it is certainly very important to the community. According to the 2011 census, it has a population of 2,744, which is about a 15 per cent increase since the 2006 census. The Moorabool Shire Council is grappling with planning challenges as more people move into the district with the easy commute from both Ballarat and Melbourne by road and rail.

While this has been happening, though, the community has maintained its strong traditional focus while working hard to build for its new future. This weekend, I will attend the Ballan District Vintage Machinery and Vehicle Club's rally at the Ballan Racecourse. Like the Ballan Autumn Festival, which will be held soon, this is a great traditional event which attracts people from all around the region. I encourage people to come.

The people who keep these events growing are the heart and soul of these regions—people like the president of the machinery and vehicle club, Fred Palmer, whose mother, Sylvia, was recently named Moorabool Citizen of the Year, and the secretary, Brian Barry. They volunteer their time to ensure these events continue, just like the hardworking committee of the Ballan Autumn Festival.

Along with these traditional events, Ballan, like its counterparts across my electorate mentioned earlier, has started to show the signs of growth into this new phase. There are traders setting up new specialty businesses like coffee and craft shops, which attract weekend visitors from far away. One of the important developments has been the evolution of health services in the town. It is the site of the first GP superclinic in Australia, which the federal government provided $1.4 million for. A further $3.3 million is being provided for new facilities, including a hydrotherapy pool. I am proud that our government has played such an important part in bringing about this excellent transformation in health services in the community of Ballan. It is important to encourage managed growth and diversity in towns like Ballan, but with this comes a responsibility on governments to invest to ensure residents have access to the services to which they are entitled.

The government, through the Building the Education Revolution, has helped improve education facilities both at St Bridget's and Ballan Primary School to help young people and to facilitate their education. I congratulate the people of Ballan and the Moorabool councillors and staff who work with them, for the energy they are putting into developing this fantastic community.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): In accordance with standing order 193, the time for members' constituency statements has concluded.