THE plan to create a government jobs hub on land owned by the City of Greater Bendigo is one step closer to fruition, with councillors expected to formally vote on the proposal in the coming months.
Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said the city continued to receive information on the plan, which involves relocating staff from multiple sites into one purpose built facility, together with other state government employees, and the city has sought independent advice regarding possible financial and development models for the hub.
“We will need to make a decision as a city about being involved in a project such as GovHub,” Cr O’Rourke said.
“We’ve got to take a lot of things into consideration before we make a commitment one way or the other, about the city being involved.”
Cr O’Rourke said 100 state government jobs announced as part of the GovHub would inject millions into the Bendigo economy, and added the city was continuing to push for more jobs to be provided as part of the project.
“We would like to see more jobs and we’ve certainly been pushing hard for that.”
The 2018/19 state budget allocated $16 million towards planning the GovHub, as part of a project expected to cost about $90 million.
Up to 1000 City of Greater Bendigo and Victorian government department and agency employees will be co-located in the new building.
The Victorian Labour Hire Licensing Authority to be set up in Bendigo this year, will provide 20 positions at the GovHub, while the state government has stated it continues to explore more opportunities to place other departments/staff in the GovHub.
The City of Greater Bendigo is located across seven offices in the northern end of central Bendigo, and if the project does go ahead, it would be built on the site of the Lyttleton Terrace office, with four buildings making way for the GovHub.
The remaining three buildings the city currently occupies are leased and would become available for rent, with the Commercial Land and Activity Centre Strategy pointing to increasing demand for new available commercial floor space over the next 15 years.
Cr O’Rourke said while she understands people have rushed to compare the Bendigo GovHub proposal with others being established at Ballarat and in the Latrobe Valley, it was important to note that each initiative, and the circumstances behind their establishment, was different.
Bendigo GovHub supporters claim that as an urban renewal project, it has the potential to stimulate private investment that will further enhance economic activity in the city.
– Peter Kennedy