The City of Greater Bendigo looks forward to Premier Daniel Andrews making good on his promises for our community following his recent re-election.
The promises were indeed welcomed and the city is grateful for the Victorian government’s continued support, however our ability to keep working together will be critical to delivering for our community.
The proposed new Law Courts are absolutely needed in our community. The current ones are outdated, small, unsafe for family law matters and lack modern technology.
The removal of the two towers at Bendigo Health is necessary, together with the $60 million new day rehabilitation centre and 27,000 more specialist appointments in Bendigo.
These promises will further add to our hospital precinct’s ability to provide world-class care to the wider community.
We welcome new train stations opening in Goornong, Raywood and Huntly, plans to duplicate the Bendigo-Kyneton railway line and re-open the Harcourt station, and improved accessibility for Greater Bendigo residents to Melbourne Airport as part of the eventual airport rail link.
And it is expected some of the $220m Building Better TAFEs Fund will flow through to Bendigo TAFE, further enhancing Bendigo’s higher education offering.
However, it is announcements like $2m for a new pavilion at Harry Trott Oval/Kennington Recreation Reserve, $330,000 for Kangaroo Flat Bowling Club, even $5 billion to cover 15 hours of free kinder for three-year-olds that are all pleasing but also get me thinking.
Harry Trott is a council asset. The $2m promised will not complete the planned project. The Victorian government cannot be expected to fund the entire project but neither can the user groups. Council will need to make up the shortfall.
The bowling club is a community asset but the land the proposed bowling green will go on is council-managed land. Again, the $330,000 is unlikely to cover the project, so council may have to adjust its budget accordingly.
The city looks after the upgrade and maintenance of 19 kindergarten and early years facilities, including their play spaces. With more little bodies running around and making the most of 15 hours of free kinder, the wear and tear on these facilities will only increase.
Greater Bendigo is a proud partner of the Victorian Government but funding the shortfall places pressure on Council and forces project priorities to adjust.
In the time remaining in our term, councillors are keen to see projects completed, not bumped.
Increasingly, a few thousand dollars or even $1m in Victorian government funding for a multi-million dollar project is simply not enough.
Looking ahead, the councillors have a shortlist of major projects that will also need state government support and are a priority for us, particularly the Golden Dragon Museum expansion, Bendigo Airport terminal upgrade and waste management support.
A better deal regarding the proposed GovHub is also a must.
It is hoped that the state government and our returned local members, Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards, continue to provide the necessary support to council so that current and future announcements can be adequately supported.