Canberra visit positive ahead of next year's Federal election
Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke and Chief Executive Officer Craig Niemann have used the last National General Assembly of Local Government before next year’s Federal election to seek support for priority projects for the City of Greater Bendigo and wider region.
Airport terminal funding, expanding the Golden Dragon Museum, future waste management solutions and a City Deal for Bendigo led discussions with a range of opposition and government parliamentarians and their advisors.
Cr O’Rourke said the meetings were very positive and Assembly presentations and panel discussions were informative.
“It was a great opportunity to discuss the needs of our community and further understand the shared challenges and opportunities all councils face,” Cr O’Rourke said.
“The Assembly received its largest attendance and waste management was a big focus of the event. It is clearly an issue that all councils are grappling with, so it was encouraging to see it being discussed and debated at a national level with Federal government representatives listening in.
“In our meetings we received an encouraging response to plans to expand and rename the Golden Dragon Museum to develop it into the National Chinese Museum of Australia. It was pleasing there was general support for preserving and enhancing this aspect of Greater Bendigo’s history.
“We also discussed the City’s application to the Building Better Regions Fund to upgrade and extend the existing Bendigo Airport terminal building and our plans to have an airline operating out of Bendigo in the near future.
“The proposed airport rail link also came up, so it was another chance to again advocate for the Bendigo line to be incorporated into State and Federal government plans.
“We have further work to do to secure a City Deal for Greater Bendigo but received good advice that the Federal government is applying a regional focus to this program and is looking for projects that support more than one location and do not necessarily have to be located in a city.
“We also used the meetings to reinforce the importance of continued funding to regional Australia through the Building Better Regions Fund and similar programs. It is not possible to deliver for our communities without this level of support.
“For the first time since 2012, the Prime Minister addressed the Assembly. He attended the closing dinner and congratulated councils for taking the opportunity to put their best foot forward prior to the election.
“We have been invited to return to Canberra in August to continue our advocacy and provide further information on our projects, which we look forward to doing.”