You’re out! Council ejects staff for dud GovHub
Bendigo council staff were given just three days to remove personal items from the Lyttleton Terrace offices before the building is decommissioned and demolished despite no final decision on the controversial sell-out to the State Government.
The cavalier memo to staff on Tuesday comes as the community still demands consultation on the GovHub debacle and jumps the gun on council’s legislative requirement to advertise any intention to sell for public comment.
Staff are told the council is “currently decommissioning the buildings’ services such a heating, cooling, cleaning etc in preparation for a future sale”.
Opponents of the sell-out are furious council continues to ignore residents and ratepayers, cutting corners and committing the city to higher operational overheads, money that would be needed for Bendigo’s economic and social recovery from the coronavirus pandemic for a generation and longer.
“This is willful and disrespectful arrogance from the City of Greater Bendigo like we have never seen,” said Max Turner who said more than 1000 people had signed a petition for presentation to State Parliament opposing the sale.
“An unelected CEO Craig Niemann and an elected Mayor Margaret O’Rourke have some serious explaining to do. How dare they abandon proper process and snub thousands of Bendigo people who can see GovHub will be a financial millstone around the city’s neck for decades.
“Not once in more than 12 months have councillors discussed GovHub at a public meeting. There has been no final decision to sell the land, no information on the site’s value, simply nothing but silence and a refusal to answer fair and reasonable questions on GovHub, parking and likely job losses in some suburbs.
“Besides giving staff three days to take what they want from the offices, what other detail and information is council hiding from the people?”
Mr Turner said all decisions and actions on the future of the GovHub proposal must be put on hold until the coronavirus pandemic state of emergency was lifted and council elections scheduled for October were held.
“Bendigo’s current councillors must stand up and call an immediate halt to wasting time and money on a proposal that has divided our city and diminished any respect there was for a council that has become deliberately ignorant to the views of residents.”
FACT CHECK: Today's Bendigo Advertiser report states 1000 new jobs will be created in CBD. WRONG: More than 400 council jobs already exist in CBD, hundreds will be relocated from Epsom and East Bendigo with an impact on businesses in those suburbs.