A WORLD Heritage Listing bid for Victoria's Goldfields is expected to inject an estimated $25 million into central Victoria if successful.
The bid involves 13 local councils - including Greater Bendigo, Mount Alexander, Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Central Goldfields and Campaspe- working to have significant Victorian Goldfields sites awarded World Heritage status.
Former Victorian premier John Brumby, who is a co-patron of the bid with former Victorian premier Denis Napthine, said the bid could take up to five years to find success but help the region's visitor economy recover.
"It will take some time but the benefit at the end will be immensely important to regional and rural Victoria, particularly the 13 local government areas," Mr Brumby said. "The modelling done for this bid shows with World Heritage Listing, something like an additional $25 million directly in tourism visitation and expenditure would be coming into region.
"When you think on COVID and recessions, people think (the economy) is alright again in couple years. That's not the case, recessions typically take six to eight years to get to full recovery, so the timing of this (bid) is impeccable."
City of Greater Bendigo mayor Margaret O'Rourke said a lot of things needed to happen to the bid over the next five years.
"A number elements need to happen in terms of sites being selected," she said. "We need to work the federal government to get approval from an Australian perspective and then it would go internationally."
World Heritage expert Barry Gamble, from the United Kingdom, said the Victorian Goldfields were best-surviving example from the 19th century gold rush.
"We now have statement on the table that identifies why central Victoria's Goldfields are the best of the best," Mr Gamble said. "That's what we're aiming for in World Heritage, putting the Goldfields on a global stage and justifying why it is the best of the best."
The Victorian Goldfields Tourism Executive has provided $50,000 to help create publicity material for the bid.
"The investment will not only prepare the World Heritage Listing but (also bring) much needed support so when the day happens that we can open up for business, we can really excite people to come to this wonderful place," Victorian Goldfields Tourism chair Chris Meddows-Taylor said.
Local councils involved with the Victorian Goldfields World Heritage Listing bid are City of Ballarat, City of Greater Bendigo, Ararat Rural City along with Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Golden Plains, Hepburn, Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Moorabool, Mount Alexander, Northern Grampians and Pyrenees shires.