The Victorian premier will campaign for Bendigo to become home to a new government agency at tomorrow’s Council of Australian Governments national summit.
Premier Daniel Andrews said he wanted to strike a “city deal” with the prime minister for the proposed Regional Investment Corporation to be based in the central Victorian city.
“Bendigo has a proud history and great future,” the premier said.
“With its expertise in finance and highly skilled workforce, Bendigo is best placed to be home to the proposed Regional Investment Corporation.”
The Regional Investment Corporation is being established by the commonwealth as the administrator for the $4.5 billion in national agriculture and water resources financing and concessional loans initiative
At the last COAG, an agreement was reached for all levels of government to undertake the so-called ‘city deals’ which aim to make Australia’s cities better places to live, work and do business.
The Victorian government said that its lobbying helped make sure regional cities were expressly included and that these potential partnerships would cover more than just the main capital cities.
The federal government has entered into partnerships in Townsville, Western Sydney and Launceston.
In Townsville the Australian government are providing $100 million for a sports stadium and $150 million for a rail corridor. In Western Sydney, they are giving an unspecified amount to invest in infrastructure including new public transport to support the growth of the area, unlock the economic potential and reduce congestion. In Launceston, they are providing $130 million for the expansion of the University of Tasmania’s campus, $7.5 million to rejuvenate the CBD and $2 million for a Forest Products Innovation Hub.
So far there have been no agreements reached with Victoria about potential city deals.
Mr Andrews said his government was keen to pursue such deals to support the growth, development and liveability of the state’s regional cities.
“If a city deal is good enough for Western Sydney or Townsville, its good enough for Bendigo,” he said.
“This is about jobs, liveability and ensuring that Bendigo can reach its full potential.”
The state government said a Regional Investment Corporation would build on Bendigo’s strengths as a centre for regional finance.
The financial and insurance services sector is Bendigo's leading industry, with output of over $550 million per annum (12.3 per cent of GVA).
Greater Bendigo is home to over 500 financial and insurance service businesses, including the nation's fifth largest bank, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, which is a top 70 ASX listed company employing approximately 1000 people locally.
The Andrews government it would leverage Bendigo’s specific expertise in administering financial assistance to regional Australia.
It also said Bendigo had a highly skilled workforce across health and education which could also help drive future employment growth.
The state government will argue these factors would make Bendigo the “natural choice” for the Regional Investment Corporation.