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Clear answers please: Sharkey

Former Mayor Maurie Sharkey says of GovHub:

The lack of clear and cogent information regarding the sale and lease back of Council owned land to enable the building of Council offices is a great concern to all ratepayers of Greater Bendigo. Listed below are a number of concerns. 1. The lack of any real financial details of the value of the Council Site (Prime Block of Real Estate). There seems to be no public disclosure of the nett result of paying rent on our own assets over a 40 year period after them being sold. There is no disclosure of any details of a business case. 2. Having the State Government as landlords compromises the independence of Council. Separation of powers and tiers of Government is essential. Over 40 years Governments change, Government philosophies change, landlords can change – buildings can be on sold. 3. Incoming Councils over 40 years will be locked into this situation. Their hands are tied financially, policy wise – it limits and influences vital decision making into the future. What provisions are considered for Council operations at the end of 40 years? Council will be a captive tenant. 4. There is provision to add two stories to the existing building. There is plenty of space to build extra extensions. Has there been a comparison of costs for this as against the proposed project. 5. Keeping Councils independence does not preclude the options of State Government to build a Gov Hub at another site. Included is a need for some guarantees that various Government departments/agencies will actually relocate (remember Dept of Agriculture). This particularly refers to staff of a senior level. The people of Bendigo would like to have clear answers to these queries. Proper information is paramount for the community of Greater Bendigo to truly assess a decision which has an ongoing effect on this City for many years.

Maurice J Sharkey Huntly Shire Council Councillor 1988 – 1994 Shire President 1993 – 1994 Commissioner Cjty of Greater Bendigo 1994 – 1996 City of Greater Bendigo Councillor 1996 – 2001. Mayor 1998 - 1999

* This article first appeared in the Bendigo Monthly April 2020

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