Mayor and CEO enjoy successful Canberra visit

The City of Greater Bendigo’s advocacy visit to Canberra has helped to raise awareness of future projects and opportunities for collaboration with the Australian Government. 

Mayor Cr Dr Jennifer Alden and Chief Executive Officer Craig Niemann used the visit to discuss planned expansions for Bendigo Art Gallery and Golden Dragon Museum, sustainable waste management practices, Bendigo’s UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation, and how communities can harness the benefits of renewable energy.

Cr Alden said it was a beneficial visit.

“We had a positive discussion with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, which contains the Office of the Arts. Staff were very interested in plans for the gallery and museum and we used the meeting to demonstrate the importance of the arts to our local economy, particularly as a key driver for tourism. We look forward to returning and meeting with other departments that have a role in broader regional development to progress these projects,” she said. 

“The team at the UNESCO National Commission was impressed with our progress as a Creative City of Gastronomy and regional approach to engaging neighbouring Councils, our involvement with the Dja Dja Wurrung and plans to hold future gastronomy-themed events. 

“Our meeting with the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans helped us to understand the government’s position on the circular economy, including managing food waste and work underway with the construction sector to remove surplus material from landfill. 

“There are a number of resource recovery centres being developed around Australia using various technology, all of which the government is open to, so as we progress our plans to close the landfill and develop our own resource recovery centre, we won’t have to limit ourselves in order to access possible future funding. 

“We look forward to supporting future work undertaken by Independent Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines, who is focused on delivering the Local Power Plan to help communities access renewable energy, such as wind or solar, and retain the financial benefit. There are many ways Bendigo could benefit from the plan and we look forward to supporting Dr Haines get the government support needed.” 

Planned meetings with the office of the former Deputy Prime Minister and Local Government Minister were unfortunately cancelled due to the National Party leadership spill. 

The main reason for the City visiting Canberra was to attend the National General Assembly of Local Government, which was attended by 700 delegates from around the country to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on communities, recovery and resilience, climate change action and circular economy developments. 

As part of the conference, more than 100 motions were moved to elevate advocacy to the Australian Government. They focused on issues such as Local Government having a seat at the National Cabinet table, and fair and sustainable funding such as restoring the Financial Assistance Grants to previous levels (as they had previously been frozen). 

The City successfully moved a motion that made the case for tailoring specific support to regional and rural councils to better understand the impacts of natural disasters and COVID-19 on young people, women, and creative and tourism industries, plus recommending a focus on job creation in areas that will increase resilience to a changing climate.

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