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The Chase is On … for answers and consultation

Victoria’s top financial watchdog say a State Government agency giving out grants valued at $35 million to the city cannot reliably show how they have helped Greater Bendigo.

Yes, Regional Development Victoria "still" cannot reliably demonstrate how more than $1 billion given to Victorian councils, businesses and other groups have boosted regional economies, a Victorian Auditor-General's report has found.

This is very same State Government agency that Bendigo council has blindly decided will take over prime CBD real estate and receive top dollar rent from ratepayers for the next 40 years for a dud GovHub deal engulfed by unanswered legitimate questions council and government refuse to answer.

The same Auditor-General’s report clearly identified that Ballarat and Geelong are far more favourably treated in the government grant stakes than Bendigo. After the dud GovHub deal, that’s no surprise

While a Bendigo Advertiser article did not delve deeper and make the connection between RDV and GovHub, this is part of what has been reported this week:

“The funds are regularly awarded to Bendigo projects, including past $5 million for the Bendigo Airport runway and $8 million for the Bendigo Art Gallery extension.

“Auditors examined the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, which is regularly used to help complete multi-million dollar projects.

“It was the third time the Auditor-General had found deficiencies with the way Regional Development Victoria tracked funding.

“There was a "high risk" a fourth assessment in 2021 would find administrators unable to measure direct or indirect benefits, the report stated.”

“Regional Development Victoria still had work to do with delays processing grants impacting time sensitive projects by councils, businesses and other organisations.

“Auditors also found gaps in the way it evaluated projects and could not back up its claim it spent less than five per cent of the fund on administration.”

If there was a TV quiz show How To Blow Millions, RDV and City of Greater Bendigo council would blitz the auditions.

In quest for real answers and real community consultation from council and RDV, as they say in a real classic TV show, THE CHASE IS ON!

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