MORE than 700 delegates from around Australia are due to visit Bendigo this week for the 19th annual Community Bank National Conference.
The three-day event, hosted by Bendigo Bank, will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the community-led banking model and look to the next 20 years.
“The conference provides a great opportunity for attendees to hear about the exciting work being undertaken in communities across Australia, to focus on new innovations in the network and plan for future growth opportunities,” Bendigo and Adelaide Bank managing director Marnie Baker said.
Three-time Paralympic gold medalist Kurt Fearnley is among the guest speakers arranged for the conference, which starts on Tuesday.
Program highlights include a private street party on Wednesday, which about 1300 people associated with the bank are expected to attend.
Bath Lane will be closed to the public for the evening.
Bendigo mayor Margaret O’Rourke welcomed visitors from across Australia to experience the city’s liveability.
“It’s events such as this that demonstrate all Bendigo has to offer to the region, the state and the country,” she said.
“Bendigo is one of Australia’s leading regional cities and we are proud to have the headquarters of Australia’s fifth largest retail bank located here.
She said the city’s strong finance sector dated back to the gold rush and was an important source of employment locally.
“A key focus for Council is to sustainably grow our city and support the development of a diverse economy and create an appealing environment for people to live in,” Cr O’Rourke said.
The first Community Bank National Conference was staged in Bendigo in 1999.
The model has injected $200 million in profits back to local communities in 20 years, according to the bank.
Ms Baker said the community bank model’s purpose was to feed into the prosperity of communities.
“Together, we look forward to celebrating our achievements and contributions of the past and focusing on the future,” she said.
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