Ballarat (VIC)

Type of Location: One of Australia's largest inland cities and the third largest city in Victoria; Ballarat has an area of 740 square kilometers.

The city is located in western Victoria, surrounded by the municipalities of the Shires of Hepburn, Pyrenees, Golden Plains and Moorabool.

Population: 85,193 (2006 Census)

Major Industries: Manufacturing, tourism, health and community services, education and retailing are now the key industries in the cit (previously agriculture and mineral based).

Applicant Organisation: cBallarat Inc.

Synopsis: Ballarat was one of the groups that made a submission regarding the introduction of Community Geographic Domain Names because they believed in introducing a facility for communities to identify themselves on the "Net" and to alleviate their concerns about commercial organisations effectively controlling any domains that identify communities. As one of the 3 pilot groups, Ballarat received consistent and substantial support from the board of cBallarat and the City of Ballarat.

What they say:

"Many community groups run on very thin, or in some cases, non-existent funds. Our ability to put together a server combined with a readily identifiable umbrella domain and service has encouraged groups from all parts of the community to explore an online presence both for the purposes of interacting with their own members and stakeholders and as a way of reaching the wider community. We have also been able to provide directory resources for businesses and we are starting to see this directory resource becoming a focus in the region as an authoritative source of information."

Advice to other communities:

"Keep the process simple. Overcomplicated business plans and strategies will disengage many of the stakeholders in the target region. Keep the core team small but responsible to the stakeholders. The bigger the management/steering group, the slower and more cumbersome the process becomes."

"Find champions! Do not be intimidated by the costs of commercial sites; many quote unrealistic prices and do not reflect the needs of the communities they intend to serve; there are many ways in which a community facility can come together."

"Keeping up community interest is vital. In order to do so there should be 2-3 clearly tangible and understandable outcomes that are consistently articulated and pursued."

George Fong, cBallarat