Mayor Margaret O’Rourke

SOLUTIONS rather than new projects made up the bulk of advocacy for City of Greater Bendigo mayor Margaret O’Rourke and chief executive Craig Niemann in Canberra last week.

The pair spoke to the advisers of government and opposition leaders, and attended the last National General Assembly of Local Government before next year’s federal election.

Cr O’Rourke said Bendigo’s airport required additional funding to improve the terminal.

The airport including the runway has been upgraded to the tune of $15m and the council says it is talking to a range of airlines to establish an air service out of the city.

The federal government has been asked for another injection of money to fund the terminal upgrade.

At the same time, the council has conceded it is working to mend relationships with existing airport leasees.

“The city is working constructively will all tenants at the airport,” director of strategy and growth Bernie O’Sullivan said.

“There were some disruptions to tenants during construction of the new runway, however all aviation tenants are naturally pleased with the new runway.

“The new asset has secured air ambulance services in the region long term and also allowed the city to express interest in hosting the new Qantas flight training academy and attracting an airline to operate out of Bendigo.

“The city continues to speak with a range of airlines.”

Ahead of the new imperial dragon arriving in Bendigo before next Easter, the Golden Dragon Museum is facing space constraints and funding is required to expand the building.

The museum also wants to change names to become the National Chinese Museum of Australia.

“It was pleasing there was general support for preserving and enhancing this aspect of greater Bendigo’s history,” Cr O’Rourke said.

“The proposed airport rail link also came up, so it was another chance to again advocate for the Bendigo line to be incorporated into state and federal government plans.

“We have further work to do to secure a city deal for greater Bendigo but received good advice that the federal government is applying a regional focus to this program and is looking for projects that support more than one location and do not necessarily have to be located in a city.”

But the biggest talk at the national general assembly was the problem of waste management following China’s exit from the recycled plastics market.

“It is clearly an issue that all councils are grappling with, so it was encouraging to see it being discussed and debated at a national level with federal government representatives listening in,” Cr O’Rourke said.