Ita’s a new broom

Excellent editor and great gal Ita Buttrose confronts a pongy pile of the old proverbial in her first days as chair of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

With her bucket of insight and the shovel of integrity, the watching and listening public expect her to get this mess cleaned up quick smart.

She can sweep away the spiders that lurk in dark corners, flick down the cobwebs woven by evicted arachnids, wipe off the dust that filters the news and current affairs, air out the smoke and toss out the mirrors.

If the obstacles which prevent the restoration and advancement of our national broadcaster remain insurmountable to someone of Ita’s calibre, then the time will have come to sell the ABC.

Sally Anne Pethebridge,

The Bronx of Bendigo

Sad to see the once family-friendly and inviting Hargreaves Mall slowly turn into the abomination that it now is.

As a past resident and ratepayer of Bendigo who now resides interstate, I can’t help but visit the mall when in town and note its decline towards becoming the Bronx of Bendigo.

While I’m aware of the controversy of the redevelopment over past years, today I saw some cheap and nasty attempts, what I can only assume are to encourage people to frequent the place, for instance the mound of artificial grass with some plastic tables.

Give it a break.

Interestingly, the town where I reside now is thinking of turning one of our streets into a mall.

Imagine my horror when I saw a council-sponsored poster in a shop window asking for feedback about the proposal with example photos of various malls across Australia. Guess which mall was featured?

I could not contact my local councillor quick enough to advise that the Hargreaves Mall was an excellent example of what to do if you want to kill off a street, its businesses and its community spirit.

Those councillors who then approved the Hargreaves redevelopment and its funding, should hang their heads in shame.

Tony Flett,

Sorell, Tasmania

A fair go for all

Well done Robert Smallpage on your letter in the Bendigo Weekly, March 8, illustrating the cavalier officer attitude at the City of Greater Bendigo in spending our money on replacing perfectly good roundabouts with expensive newer versions for minimal gain.

Officers have form for replacing something functional with a slightly more refined offering at a massive cost to the ratepayer purse.

We all remember a seat in the Hargreaves Street west end that was replaced by a sleeker curved version at a cost of $26,000.

With the CEO, Craig Niemann, on an annual salary package approaching $350,000 and three directors on packages between $220,000 and $240,000, it is not difficult to see how they have a different mindset.

As more than half of Bendigo’s residents receive incomes of less than $45,000 yearly you can see why residents have a different set of spending priorities.

Don’t despair, there is good news. I believe a petition has recently been submitted to council calling for the setting of targets for community satisfaction as per Recommendation 51 from the Independent Review.

Hopefully, this will lead to a greater focus on customers’ priorities, not officers.

Colin Carrington,

Acknowledgment please

Reading the city of Bendigo council’s Implementing The Review – Final Report where the combined savings for savings, deleted expenditure and costs avoided amounted to a total savings of $6.9 million for an offset cost of $2.7m.

Not bad for a submission submitted to council by Michael McKenzie and Edward Coleman, who had nothing personal to gain except to save the council and the ratepayers’ money.

So why did both Cr Fyffe and the CEO Niemann fight so hard against the review when submitted (a number of times I must mention) for it to be implemented?

I notice that in the report there is a big glossy photo of both Cr Fyffe and Mr Niemann smiling like Cheshire cats like it was their idea.

Sorry, all credit must go to Mr McKenzie and Mr Coleman because had it not been for their personal visions and hard unpaid work nothing would have happened and we would still be losing money.

We the ratepayers would be none the wiser of the real instigators.

This council proudly gives recognition to members of the public for their special achievements, so come on councillors, would it not now be fitting to present a public award in some form at a council meeting to these gentlemen to show our appreciation for their time and effort?

Robert Smallpage,


Future in good hands

We unfortunately hear too many negative stories about the young people of today.

Negative stories are more newsworthy but in my experience the younger generations display as much, if not more, community mindedness as any age group.

Recently a young player at our club suffered a serious spinal injury which will result in significant and on-going medical treatment.

A group of younger members of the club got together to plan the best way they could assist their teammate.

This culminated in them organising a day of entertainment and fundraising at Ewing Park that was an outstanding success. $30,000 was raised, which far exceeded our expectations.

To see the leadership, organisation, planning and hard work that these young people displayed certainly impressed everyone involved.

It is stories like this that should should make us all confident that the future indeed is in good hands.

Shane Hartney, President

United Cricket Club

Poor value

Following the recent letters in the Bendigo Weekly on Friday, March 8 – Roundabout riddle, Retain our independence and One hand clapping is a fair summary of our council.

Once again the council, that we elected two years ago and have to put up with for another two years, has hoodwinked the community.

The GovHub fiasco is another prime example of gross lack of consultation and inclusion.

More decisions made behind closed doors, the lack of transparency on decisions that effect the whole community is appalling and the decision being made to sell the city offices beggars belief.

It is not council’s building to sell, it belongs to the community, paid for and kept in good condition by our rates and charges imposed by the council officers.

How much investigation into the potential of this building has been done?

From my understanding this present building was designed to extend the building by another two floors, I hope that someone from the council will either confirm or deny this.

The mayor makes the statement that it will be good for the CBD, which is pie in the sky – the CBD is dead.

No parking – some over-zealous parking inspectors making sure they get their daily total is a real deterrent for people.

The disgraceful alterations to some of the roundabouts, especially the one at Mundy Street and Lyttleton Terrace appears that council don’t want people coming into the CBD.

The ironic thing is that some years ago this GovHub proposal was muted under a state Labor government that was going to relocate state government departments to the present marketplace site, but was scuttled by the incoming Jeff Kennett-lead Liberal government with the full support of the Bendigo city council.

Residents are getting poor value for the charges imposed.

Ivan Kitt,