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Nothing to show for Bendigo Bunch job advocacy

The Bendigo Bunch has struck again with words to mask their inaction when it comes to getting the best deal for our city on jobs and government investment.

A letter last week from chief city servant Craig Niemann and the here-we-go-again Mayor Margaret O’Rourke says: “The city continues to work with state and federal government to advocate for future opportunities for Bendigo, including additional public sector jobs.”

But like the dud GovHub deal that triggered correspondence to the Bendigo Bunch, there’s no more information offered and the textbook stonewall response only opens the way for more questions.

Mr Niemann and and Cr O’Rourke can surely tell who they have met with urging more government jobs in Bendigo, when the meetings took place and, most importantly, were there positive outcomes and commitments for Bendigo.

If there is some good news in the pipeline, it will certainly outdo the miserly confirmed 55 new government jobs in the $100 million GovHub to be built on the site of our city offices in Lyttleton Terrace, our land and buildings being sold by council without any consultation to a State Government profit-making business and us ratepayers being left with a high rent bill for the next 40 years.

The undynamic Bendigo Bunch leadership duo says GovHub is a great outcome for Bendigo’s economy and community. How easily pleased they are when the Ballarat GovHub, being built without council money or land, will have a $1 billion more economic benefit compared with Bendigo and see 600 new government jobs for our regional rivals.

The Bendigo Bunch, on that analysis, is probably happy just to have had someone in Canberra answer the phone! Did Canberra think it was a Nigerian scammer on the line with another dud offer?

The appalling and pathetic way Bendigo Bunch is claiming to advocate for Bendigo has less credibility than a scam call.

Our letter to council also again asked about the missing business case to sell our Lyttleton Terrace land and buildings – a business case that would have looked at economic advantages, disadvantages to council and ratepayers, loan liability and repayment capacity, cost analysis of new versus renovation and expansion of the existing 1970s iconic building.

But true to form of cutting corners and wasting money, Mr Niemann and Cr O’Rourke in their pathetic response to our reasonable questions try to hide behind an options report presented to council in redacted form when the decision, in principle only, was made to sell Lyttleton Terrace.

That is not a business plan or even a concept discussion paper yet Mr Niemann uses it justify ramming through the dud GovHub concept of which he is a co-architect with the State Government and withholding important information from councillors. Any wonder three counclilors either voted against or abstained from the vote.

Back to this so-called advocacy to federal and state governments for more jobs.  Tell us more so we can judge whether the efforts have been genuine, real and beneficial.

As usual, the residents of Bendigo deserve a better explanation of your efforts than what has been provided.

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