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Tale of Two Cities - Bendigo Bunch irrelevant when it comes to getting good deal

So let’s get this straight – in a scheme hatched by a selective group of government appointees including Bendigo CEO Craig Niemann, the State Government has subsequently moved to construct GovHubs in Bendigo and Ballarat.

However, despite the presence of Mr Niemann in these behind-closed-doors meetings, Bendigo is getting a real dud deal – a clapped out rust bucket model when compared with the Rolls Royce version given to Ballarat.

What are the differences?

Land – Bendigo Council (aka the infamous Bendigo Bunch) is giving its land and buildings in Lyttleton Terrace to the State Government. Ballarat GovHub is being built on Crown land, no council land involved.

Jobs – Bendigo is receiving a paltry 55 confirmed new government jobs while existing jobs will be ripped from our suburbs and supplanted in the CBD. Ballarat is receiving 600 new government jobs.

The building – Bendigo will get four storeys to house 1000 government and council workers. Ballarat gets five storeys for 600 plus workers.

Parking – Not a cent for Bendigo to address parking issues in the CBD. Ballarat council gets millions of dollars from the State Government for better parking in that city’s CBD.

Independence – Bendigo Bunch betrays our residents and jumps into GovHub as an official partner of government, losing independence. Ballarat council stands firm in the best interests of its renters and ratepayers.

The bottom line – Bendigo Bunch allows an asset to be destroyed and commits to paying top dollar commercial rent as a GovHub tenant for 40 years. No such burden for Ballarat ratepayers.

And wait … there’s more! Who will own the Bendigo GovHub after the government has made a handsome profit at the expense of Bendigo resident? The sale of an uncompleted Ballarat GovHub is being hocked around the world at the moment with an advertised government commitment of tenancy of a maximum 30 years.

How long is the committed government tenancy in Bendigo? If it is the same as Ballarat, there’s a 10 year deficiency compared with council’s required commitment. Another maths fail for the Bendigo Bunch and the member of Parliament meant to be representing the best interests of Bendigo Jacinta Allan?

There must be more than a wry smirk over Ballarat way that their long time provincial rivals across the Great Dividing Range have been played for suckers by the State Government.

The divide between the rust bucker and Rolls Royce models is huge, so huge that on official figures Ballarat’s economy will have a $1 billion edge on Bendigo over the next 10 years thanks to GovHub.

The Bendigo Bunch have proven themselves irrelevant when it comes to standing up for the best interests of Bendigo. They obviously have neither the capacity nor the preparedness to get a top deal.

It was interesting to see one of the Bunch this week out spruiking on social media calling for lots of candidates in next year’s council elections.

Absolutely right Yvonne! Lots of candidates committed to getting the best deals for Bendigo and no more playing meek servant to the State Government.

You and the other five who have allowed this dud GovHub to be imposed on Bendigo without a whimper nor a question, let alone community consultation, have betrayed our city’s independence to just masters in Spring Street happy.

That’s why people by the day are downloading, printing, signing and sharing our petition to State Parliament calling on a halt to anything else on the dud rust bucket model of a GovHub until the business plans are released.

The petition is available from our website

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