Napthine vs Andrews as politicians descend

PREPARE: The Premier and Opposition Leader will spend the day in Bendigo. Graphic: HOLLY KING
PREPARE: The Premier and Opposition Leader will spend the day in Bendigo. Graphic: HOLLY KING

BOTH Victorian Premier Denis Napthine and Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews will be hoping for smoother sailing when they arrive in Bendigo this morning.

As the pair visit the city today, the controversies that dogged their previous respective trips to Bendigo appear to have faded into the background.

Mr Andrews' morning schedule closely resembles his last visit on July 25 - both days begin with funding announcements upwards of $5 million for valuable community facilities.

However, his announcement at Epsom Primary School was dominated by the stolen dictaphone debacle. This time, little should stand in the way of his positive announcement for Bendigo Stadium.

Likewise, Dr Napthine was forced to take the front foot as questions over a homophobic candidate dominated his day in Bendigo on August 1.

He handled the issue with strength and competence, but when former Bendigo West candidate Jack Lyons' social media escapades were revealed, it added fuel to that fire.

While the looming spectre of Geoff Shaw will hang over both camps, the issue lacks the immediacy of previous distractions. Both should be able to get on with putting their case for a better Bendigo.

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said while she was "not particularly interested" in the Premier's visit, having both leaders in the city on the same day showed how important Bendigo is to the state of Victoria.

"Bendigo, as a major regional city, will always be an important part of Victoria," she said.

"It's a city with enormous benefits for families, with a wonderful reputation as an international centre for the arts, fantastic schools and the new hospital."

Another major state government project is set to be opened today. Stage 1 of the Golden Square Primary School redevelopment could be on the parliamentarians' itineraries, as the school celebrates the completion of the $5 million upgrade.


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