In just under four months’ time, voters will choose who they want to represent them in the next Victorian parliament.

The election on Saturday, November 24 shapes as being one of the most closely fought tussles for some time, with recent polls predicting whichever party earns the right to govern, will do so by the narrowest of margins.

The ultimate failure of the City of Greater Bendigo’s controversial and now defunct plans for a major industry park on the outskirts of the municipality at Marong highlights how important having the right plan and the right support really is for our community.

There are several major projects either “on the go” or needing support to the next phase of their development that must be kept in the forefront of our civic and government leaders thinking during the next few hurly burly months.

In no particular order, they include a Plan B alternative to the failed Marong Business Park concept, the government jobs hub proposed for the fringes of the central business district, the long overdue new courts complex, improved rail facilities and services, funding for urgent flood mitigation works, support for the ongoing Bendigo Airport redevelopment, the Golden Dragon Museum, Bendigo Health’s revamped campus, and many more.

The Marong Business Park was, without a doubt, one of the city’s highest priorities, with so much of Bendigo’s future potential seemingly riding on the back of the proposal.

Momentum has been lost – for now, but Bendigo needs to finds its feet, and its way back to the challenge of coming up with a viable alternative as quickly as possible, a task much easier said than done.

Both sides of politics agree Bendigo needs to attract industry to provide more jobs to an ever growing population, and the city was probably entitled to think it was close to having its plans approved, until the planning minister made his
announcement just a few weeks ago.

Some of the city’s wish list projects are intricately linked, such as the next stage of the airport redevelopment and the Qantas pilot school, two opportunities to bring our city closer to the rest of the world, and to create the best quality infrastructure for Bendigo.

Some of these items might not seem overly exciting – such as the backlog of drainage works that needs tackling, but they are important, and more importantly, they deserve support. Addressing not just Bendigo’s, but the entire state’s waste problems, is another sensitive and multi-layered issue, and one that every single council will want to see action on.

Any announcement in coming months that brings the long awaited new court facilities closer to reality will be welcome.
That this city’s police, legal fraternity and all those involved in administration of justice have to tolerate the archaic facilities of the current court complex is frankly embarrassing, but it’s also a tribute to all those involved that they continue to do so under such duress.