Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry outlines priorities for Bendigo ahead of state election

One of Victoria’s peak business groups has earmarked funding for further development at Bendigo Airport  and the progression of the proposed Marong Business Park as part of its state election wish list. 

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged both political parties to commit to reforms to accelerate trade, investment and employment growth throughout regional Victoria ahead of the November election.

The VCCI identified progressing the development of the Marong Business Park, planning for the Greater Bendigo Public Space Project, and stage three of the Bendigo Airport redevelopment as part of an expansive wish list release on Wednesday.

The City of Greater Bendigo in December applied for $4.44 million from the federal government to upgrade the terminal at Bendigo Airport, which the council believes could prove pivotal in helping secure a highly sought after commercial carrier.

Bendigo council will contribute $1m to the terminal upgrades with the overall project cost estimated to be $9.98m, and will ask the state government to foot the rest of the bill – about $4.5m.

Work: The government says up to 3000 jobs will be created in Marong with the approval of a controversial business park. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Work: The government says up to 3000 jobs will be created in Marong with the approval of a controversial business park. Picture: DARREN HOWE

The state government in August gave the green light to a proposed business park at Marong by rezoning more than 300 hectares of land along the Calder Highway.

However landowners at the time vowed to fiercely oppose any development, claiming the council will have to take their land off them. 

The City of Greater Bendigo has to decide whether farming land and a business park can co-exist, or to press ahead with voluntary or compulsory land acquisition.

The business park is one of the city’s top priorities and is forecast to generate up to 3000 jobs in sectors including manufacturing, logistics, research and development and service.

VCCI chief executive Mark Stone AM said increasing the capacity of Bendigo Airport would improve export potential out of the region. 

“Fast freight opportunity helps products get to market quickly,” he said.

Having a bigger airport could also encourage a precinct to develop around the facility, Mr Stone said.

The City of Greater Bendigo has been contacted for comment.