Jacinta’s folly: a dud GovHub full of smoke and mirrors
For two decades Bendigo East’s representative in the Victorian Parliament Jacinta Allan, the ‘girl next door’, has been more interested in earning Olympic selection in grandstanding events than standing up for the people of our great city.
Her feeble sugar-coated efforts to divert attention from failure are evident. Like when she buckled supporting the billion plus dollars wasted ripping up the double-track train line between Bendigo and Kyneton for a “Very Fast Train”, which she quickly retitled the “Velocity Train” because it wasn’t fast; now it is just a same old slow train.
In a classic case of Karma, Jacinta, now Transport Infrastructure Minister, trots out worn and tired phrases whenever Bendigo trains are late or cancelled; a service no better than decades ago because the infrastructure was decimated by Jacinta’s team.
Ironically, spinning faster than a top she commits the government to duplicating the line between Ballarat and Melbourne for faster services. Not a care for Bendigo’s track rip-up.
Jacinta when Education Services Minister was so asleep at the wheel when it came to maintenance of Bendigo secondary schools. She had the five schools demolished and replaced by just four, claiming that was sufficient for future enrolments. Now those four schools are overflowing. Bendigo continues to grow and needs that fifth secondary school.
Then last week she number stumbled again, reported as telling the Bendigo Advertiser that the proposed $100 million GovHub would see 1000 more people working in the CBD. Not true! 400 existing City of Greater Bendigo jobs currently located within 200 metres of each other and only about 100 government CBD-based staff will share the GovHub with 400 government staff dragged in from the suburbs.
Most of our docile and government-compliant elected councillors, without public consultation, voted to sell-off the Council Office land in Lyttleton Terrace and receive not a dollar for the sound buildings which will be bulldozed to make way for the GovHub. On top of that our councillors are “excited’ to use our rates to pay costly rent to the State Government or private company (unknown) for the 400 staff spaces.
Jacinta skips a page in her tattered phrase book, omitting to acknowledge the hundreds of jobs moved into the CBD from East Bendigo and Epsom. What do small business owners in those suburbs think of Jacinta’s support of a dud GovHub that could reduce suburban profitability? To save the CBD Jacinta and Council wreck the suburbs without evidence that the GovHub will achieve what they say.
Jacinta has sold Bendigo another dud, and her compliant Bendigo councillors sing along. We’ve been betrayed by the people meant to represent our best interests. Residents and ratepayers should compare the benefits Ballarat received for their GovHub, built on Crown land with little council involvement and no council debt - we must speak up before it is too late.
If Jacinta was up to the job of really representing Bendigo and making sure residents had a voice, she would pick up her phone in between media stunts and demand the Bendigo Bunch’s head honchos, CEO Craig Niemann and Mayor Margaret O’Rourke, engage in proper community consultation before any more money is recklessly spent on a wasteful GovHub.
Council and Regional Development Victoria have been rattled into admitting the need for consultation, but insultingly it is consultation after the real decisions were made. We want more say than just picking the colour of the new curtains and garden layout.
Bendigo residents must get a better deal ... and Jacinta needs to improve her maths!