Bendigo MP Steve Gibbons says a legal appeal against the old Bendigo Gaol theatre plans could add $1 million to the project, and warned the Commonwealth would not be able to cover the shortfall.
Mr Gibbons said a delay of 12 months would mean the Victorian Government would have to find an extra $1 million to enable the 1000-seat theatre to go ahead.
The Commonwealth Government has already committed $12.3 million to the joint project with Bendigo Senior Secondary College and the City of Greater Bendigo.
The state government will contribute $11 million. The CoGB has forecast it will contribute
$3 million but expects the final figure to be closer to $5 million.
But three objectors to the plan – former City of Greater Bendigo mayor Daryl McClure, his wife, Elaine Chang, and Ted Coleman – have not ruled out appealing against the project to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The trio have cited car parking, costs and the impact on nearby Rosalind Park, as their biggest concerns.
Federal MP Simon Crean has already made assurances the Commonwealth contribution would not be affected by a VCAT appeal.
But Mr Gibbons said any cost blowout caused by delays to the project would probably have to be covered by the state government.
“The Commonwealth funding of $12.3 million is assured, but the amount is fixed,” he said.
“Any delay in starting the project would inevitably mean a substantial increase in construction costs that the Commonwealth would not be in a position to cover.
“It is unlikely the ratepayers of Bendigo would make up the shortfall as this would be very difficult to justify and be extremely unpopular.
“I understand a delay of, say, 12 months could result in another $1 million being needed for the project and therefore this would have to be met by the Victorian Government.”