Ballarat is the number one city in Australia for economic growth, according to a new report.
However, while the Polis Partners' City Report notes Ballarat was the "best performing town overall, with the top economic growth ranking and number four on inclusive growth", the study relies on statistics from before the coronavirus struck.
In a media statement, economist and report author Rob Tyson said governments should use the report as a "baseline" to "track the impact" of support packages.
"Coming into the lockdown, different cities were already on very different economic growth and inclusive growth trajectories," he said.
Inclusive growth is defined as "how the benefits of economic growth are felt within the community".
Mr Tyson said Ballarat is a "Goldilocks city".
"(These cities have) just the right balance of big city job opportunities, industry diversity and amenity without the prices, crowds and traffic jams (and) are also generating economic growth with equality. The benefits are spread across the population," he said.
Ballarat is ahead of Geelong and Bacchus Marsh, in the second and third positions, demonstrating the strong and rapid growth west of Melbourne, with Newcastle-Maitland in fourth.
While the report is a strong indicator of Ballarat's recent progress, recent unemployment statistics from May show almost 6000 jobs have been lost as a result of the pandemic crisis, with tourism and hospitality hit hardest.
However, it also follows a report from the Regional Australia Institute noting Ballarat is an attractive place for young people to move to.
You can read the full City Report online.