Mayor and CEO prepare for visit to Canberra

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Dr Jennifer Alden and Chief Executive Officer Craig Niemann will travel to Canberra this weekend ahead of next week’s National General Assembly of Local Government. 

While in Canberra, they will use the opportunity to meet with members of parliament and their staff, and also government departments to provide an update on key initiatives and seek government support for upcoming projects. 

Cr Alden and Mr Niemann will meet with advisors to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Local Government Minister Mark Coulton, Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans, representatives from the UNESCO National Commission and Department of Communications and the Arts, and the Independent Member for Indi Dr Helen Haines. 

Cr Alden said she looked forward to a productive visit.

“Since the City last travelled to Canberra in June 2019, Bendigo has become a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, there has been an increased focus on climate change, the importance of a circular economy and finding a future waste management solution for the municipality, and plans have progressed to expand key tourism drivers like the Bendigo Art Gallery and Golden Dragon Museum,” she said.  

“We look forward to meeting with advisors to the Deputy Prime Minister to discuss growth infrastructure, particularly funding for future industrial land development, and projects that will enhance our tourism offering and deliver further jobs to the region.

“Our discussions with the Local Government Minister will be an opportunity to reinforce the importance of funding received from the Federal Government, such as Financial Assistance Grants and roads funding. They are a critical component to our financial sustainability and a key way the Federal Government can support rural and regional Australia. 

“Through meeting the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, we hope to get an understanding of how we can get Federal support for a regional resource recovery centre, given the landfill is approaching the end of its life, and provide an update on our approach to managing the impact of City operations on the environment. 

“We will use our meeting with the UNESCO National Commission to discuss our gastronomic achievements to date, including setting up the new digital Gastronomy Guide and Local Producers’ Directory, and work being undertaken by the Dja Dja Wurrung to investigate commercial growth of the indigenous Kangaroo Grass grain for bread production. 

“We look forward to sharing future plans for the Bendigo Art Gallery and Golden Dragon Museum with the Department of Communications and the Arts. The next round of the Building Better Regions Fund includes $100M for tourism-related infrastructure projects, so we hope to use this visit to progress the advocacy push for these projects. 

“Independent Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines, has been a big advocate for community energy projects and last year released her Local Power Plan to drive community investment in renewable energy. We look forward to sharing our broad environment goals and discuss what she learnt in developing her plan and how Greater Bendigo can harness renewable energy.

“This will be a great opportunity to hold fruitful discussions with government and continue to share our achievements and future plans, particularly as the next Federal election is due sometime in the next year or so.”

The City is unable to advocate directly on the Bendigo Airport terminal expansion and business park, as it has an application in the current round of the Building Better Regions Fund which is still being assessed. 

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