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They struggle with maths, English and engagement

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

With the monkey on their backs getting more restless and disgruntled by the day, the Bendigo Bunch needs some remedial education on the importance of good governance on behalf of the citizens of our fine (and for now independent) city.

They need to quickly comprehend the meanings of three key words missing so far from the whole GovHub debacle inflicted on the citizens of Bendigo by their meek subservience to the State Government master who are happy to see Bendigo betrayed.

What are those words?

Accountability: Meaning that it is possible to identify and hold public officials to account for their actions
Transparency: Meaning that reliable relevant and timely information about the activities of government (and yes, that includes local government) is available to the public.
Openness: Meaning governments that listen to citizens and businesses and take their suggestions into account when designing and implementing public policies.

Now on this whole GovHub stuff-up, only three councilors have had the integrity to stand up and ask questions. When the Bendigo Bunch voted back in February to do a sell-out to government on the Lyttleton Terrace land and offices owned by the people of Bendigo, two outright voted against the plan and another abstained, calling for more information.

They know something is not right, that Bendigo is getting more than a dud deal when compared with the premier range GovHub model given to Ballarat.

They know the business case, if there even is one, is deficient and that the sums don’t add up. Any wonder Mayor O’Rourke and local co-architect of the betrayal Jacinta Allan are flustered and fumbling, plucking figures from anywhere as the pressure grows and they keep failing the maths.

There’s only one thing they and the rest of the Bendigo Bunch should be doing and that’s fumbling through the dictionary to look up the meaning of Accountability, Transparency and Openness.

Of course their panicked email out to residents on Friday was full of smoke and mirrors (what a surprise, not!). They claim GovHub is a State Government project yet the Government's own website says Bendigo council is a project partner.

They claim the business case is up to government to release. But where is the council's business plan to sell locally-owned land, hand cheque to government and pay high rent for years to come? Talk about cart before the horse.

The Bendigo Bunch in all their fluff say the CBD will be revitalised. The Bendigo Bank has failed to do that for the Hargreaves Mall.

They say space in GovHub will be leased from the government. But hold your horses, government is going to sell the building to someone else? Will the new owner eject the tenant council or keep jacking up the rent?

And don't get us started on parking this morning. Ballarat council gets paid money by government to address the issue, in subservient Bendigo the Bunch just spends more ratepayer money on more consultants. They'll probably ignore the advice anyway.

Surely the old school teacher in their cohort still has a few dictionaries stored away in a box. He could give them to his council colleagues for free – just as he was happy to give Bendigo-owned land to the government. What do you think Rod?

Our petition to the State Parliament is about the Bendigo Bunch finally coming clean with we the people, the ultimate employers of this bunch, on GovHub and returning proper governance to the municipal council.

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