The Victorian National Party leader Peter Walsh visited Bendigo on Tuesday to launch a petition calling for transparency on the details of Bendigo’s proposed GovHub.
Mr Walsh said the petition is about getting the facts about the proposed GovHub out in the open, before council decides to sell its existing land on Lyttleton Terrace.
“For me, for the council to sell something they own, to then pay a developer to fit their floors out and then pay rent could or could not be a good decision,” he said.
The petition will be circulated around Bendigo and tabled in parliament at a later date.
“The community is demanding more detail on this proposal. Ratepayers deserve to know if this is a good deal,” Mr Walsh said.
The GovHub is a $90 million project that will accommodate up to 1000 local and state government workers in a one-stop shop.
The City of Greater Bendigo will have 400 desks in the new building, with the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, the Victorian Labour Hire Licensing Authority and Portable Long Service Authority the other departments housed.
The council will invest $7.28M to cover fit out costs and temporary accommodation for staff during construction, following its sale of its current offices to become a tenant in the GovHub.
The Valuer General will set the cost of the land sale and rent for the initial rent period, with the council’s lease expected to be 20 years.
Former councillor Harold Hall said his major concern with the project was about the ongoing costs to the ratepayers of Bendigo.
“I’m very, very keen to see a halt to the whole process until we have all the information,” Mr Hall said.
Construction is slated to begin in 2020, with the project to be completed in mid-2022.
– NICHOLAS NAKOS