A BID for central Victorian goldfields to achieve UNESCO World Heritage Listing is gathering momentum, following a $50,000 investment from the state government.
The funding, announced this morning, will support some of the work required to develop the bid.
The money will be used to conduct community and industry engagement across the region and bring in expert advice.
It will also aid development of a "sustainable tourism toolkit", which those involved say will encourage tourists to visit the entire region.
They say developing the toolkit will help identify and address gaps, enabling the tourist dollar to be shared evenly.
The City of Greater Bendigo, Macedon Ranges Shire, Mount Alexander Shire, Central Goldfields Shire, Campaspe Shire, Loddon Shire and Hepburn Shire are among the 12 councils partnering in the Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage bid.
Others include the City of Ballarat, Ararat Rural City, Golden Plains Shire, Northern Grampians Shire and Pyrenees Shire.
The Victorian Goldfields Tourism Executive is the project's co-funder.
The 12 local governments and the Victorian Goldfields Tourism Executive have committed a total of $200,000 over two years to progress the World Heritage Listing bid.
The consortium of councils is understood to be working to identify further funding required to progress the bid.
If successful, the bid is conservatively estimated to inject $25-million a year into the local economy.
The involved councils represent almost half a million people and nearly 40,000 square kilometres.
Related: City in world heritage talks
Bendigo mayor Margaret O'Rourke was looking forward to the community engagement and toolkit being completed.
"The findings of this work will be very helpful in ensuring our region is ready for a World Heritage Listing," Cr O'Rourke said.
"We want to ensure the benefits of the sought-after listing are shared and this work will help to attract future funding to equip communities throughout the goldfields to welcome visitors and grow a strong regional economy."
She and Ballarat mayor Ben Taylor thanked the state government for its support.
The cities of Greater Bendigo and Ballarat are leading the campaign.
This morning's announcement took place in Ballarat, with Cr O'Rourke appearing remotely.
The locations to be highlighted in the region's bid are not yet known.
Cr O'Rourke said the work the state government was supporting would help with identifying those locations.
She believed the funding represented real advancement in the process to develop a bid.
"It's very exciting," Cr O'Rourke said.
The Bendigo mayor believed the potential for World Heritage listing was going to be especially important "in a world post-COVID when people are able to travel again".
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