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People see through the GovHub mirage

While the Bendigo Bunch and the state government may be fixated on dreary, blurry (and costly) dreams of a dud GovHub, the residents of our fair city see right through the mirage that has no substance when stacked up against facts and comparisons.

And such is the concern, residents are becoming more vocal as both council and government duck and weave to avoid scrutiny and providing answers. Despite all the fair and reasonable questions from ratepayers and residents, they still refuse to release any business plans to sell our land and buildings and pay rent.

Why is council handing over money to the government who will make a profit, at out expense, on this dud deal.

This is what Colin Carrington wrote to the Bendigo Weekly:

The state government’s development arm, Development Victoria, is quietly offering the Ballarat GovHub for sale in a process that could reap it and its partners about $115 million.

The state government has provided an additional $47 million in funding to move 600 public service jobs from Melbourne into the under-construction complex, being built on Crown Land, with an estimated completion date of December next year.

The new building has been estimated to cost about $100M and be underpinned by a long lease to the Victorian government.

Contrast that arrangement, which does not tap into the hip pocket of Ballarat residents, with Bendigo’s GovHub being built on our land with a lease-back deal to the City of Greater Bendigo at a rent guaranteed to provide the financier with a hefty return, as we pay through the nose.

The state government contribution to the Bendigo GovHub is miniscule; $16M and 100 new jobs.

Greater Bendigo residents are rightly entitled to feel aggrieved at the comparatively shoddy deal accepted by our council at the apparent behest of Jacinta Allan, in conjunction with the Victorian state government.

And Ian Ellis expressed similar concerns, writing:

Recent media reports indicate the Bendigo GovHub appears to be a “done deal”.

Is the council actually going to ask the ratepayers (their employers) any opinions relating to this?

The relocation of the customer service centre to the Hopetoun Mill site “with introduced new technology” begs the question is the new technology “self-serve” kiosks?

With the council evaluating 16 sites to temporarily relocate 200 staff, it indicates there appears to be a lot of available vacant office space in Bendigo.

Why do we need a GovHub? Surely the other tenants planned for the GovHub could utilize some of these 15 sites that were not selected by the council?

Also, the Fountain Plaza site selected for the temporary relocation of the 200 council staff could likely be leased for longer, meaning there would be no need to sell the current Lyttleton Terrace land, and the current building could be upgraded, saving a fortune for the government, council and Bendigo ratepayers.

Bendigo would then retain the asset. Once it is sold, it is gone.

I keep seeing quoted, the “$90 million state government GovHub project?”

The government is not providing the $90M. Where is it coming from and what conditions are attached.

Colin and Ian ask reasonable and fair questions. Perhaps the Bendigo Bunch could begin providing responses of a similar quality and get around to some proper consultation before any more dud deals are done.

Bendigo deserves better!

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