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Canberra advocacy visit a success for Mayor and CEO

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Funding to support future development at Bendigo Airport and the Golden Dragon Museum were the focus of discussions with politicians and their advisors when Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke and Chief Executive Officer Craig Niemann travelled to Canberra this week. 

Waste management, arts and event funding, understanding the citizenship process and a Regional Deal for Bendigo were also raised with Ministers, their advisors and department representatives. 

Cr O’Rourke said the City of Greater Bendigo had positive discussions with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and advisors to Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham and Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge regarding future funding to expand the Bendigo Airport. 

“There will be another round of Building Better Regions Funding open towards the end of the year and the City will again make a submission for Federal support to expand the Bendigo Airport terminal building and develop an aviation-compatible business park onsite,” she said.

“We also discussed how the City will be able to apply for other funding streams that can help deliver improved security outcomes and airside-specific works. Given the Australian Government’s previous investment in the airport and success of the Qantas service, we received good feedback that we had a strong case for further funding support. 

“The Golden Dragon Museum was considered favourably and there are various funding streams and departments within government that could support this project, so we will be following these leads in the coming weeks. 

“We also met with an advisor to Assistant Minister for Regional Development Nola Marino to discuss a Regional Deal for Bendigo and understand the Australian Government’s vision for this program. 

“We had a very productive meeting with Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans to learn more about the Australian Government’s approach to supporting future waste management. There is funding for onshore industry projects, so as our position becomes clearer as to how the City and region think we can best manage our waste, this is where we can potentially look for future funding support. 

“We met with a representative from the Department of Communications and Arts to discuss future expansion of the Bendigo Art Gallery, funding for touring exhibitions, the transition of the Golden Dragon Museum into the National Chinese Museum of Australia, and we learnt about funding available to support the staging of festivals. 

“The Department of Home Affairs was helpful in understanding more about the process to secure Australian citizenship, as we are aware some residents are having trouble getting their applications processed, which then impacts on their ability to access affordable tertiary education and apply for certain jobs. 

“We also met with Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters, Member for Nicholls Damian Drum and Patron Senator for Bendigo Jane Hume, who all pledged to advocate for future airport funding, recognising the importance of the Qantas service not only for Bendigo but the wider region.

“Overall, the feedback the City received was very positive and we were praised for taking the initiative to travel to Canberra and for our track record in delivering large-scale projects such as the airport runway and attraction of Qantas to Bendigo. 

“We now look forward to taking the information we have been provided and considering how we can maximise the various funding streams available to deliver the City’s key projects and further support the delivery of events and other infrastructure for our community.”

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