BENDIGO is still waiting for key election promises as the state election looms less than three weeks away, with other regional seats starting to see funding flow.
Labor’s $60 million promise to establish a day rehabilitation centre at Bendigo Health remains the largest Bendigo-specific election commitment from the major parties.
Labor also promised $49.6 million to open railway stations at Huntly, Goornong and Raywood, and to plan an upgrade of the track between Bendigo and Kyneton.
The Coalition remains light on for promises specifically for Bendigo, with $2.5 million for a walking and cycling trail from Bendigo to Murchison. Announcements will also be made at Epsom Primary School and Huntly recreation reserve in the coming days.
It stands in some contrast to other regional seats, particularly the more marginal Wendouree and Buninyong in Ballarat, where both parties have made multiple commitments.
Labor has committed to construct new primary schools, renovate high schools and spend $100 million on a study into electrifying the line to Melton.
The Coalition has made almost $10 million in funding commitments to local community groups.
Ripon, the state’s most marginal regional seat, has also seen significant funding commitments including a bipartisan $100 million in funding for Maryborough Hospital.
Member for Bendigo West said the election campaign was “not a competition” between seats and it was instead “about what our communities need”.
Be.Bendigo chief executive officer Dennis Bice said there was still time for the major parties to make commitments for Bendigo.
“We’d be grateful for any support for our region, and anything that helps to build the region and allows businesses to develop and flourish,” he said.
“We are obviously hopeful of receiving a few things that we are advocating for.”
The Coalition’s $19 billion promise for high speed rail to regional centres could provide a 70-minute train trip from Bendigo to Melbourne.
They have also promised to “relocate government jobs to regional cities” and to divert “new immigrants to the regions and regional cities”.
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said Labor’s promise for 600,000 solar rebates for houses, free TAFE courses and 27,000 additional specialist appointments in Bendigo would have local benefits.
“I’m really happy with what Bendigo West has received. I know many parts of the electorate, such as Castlemaine, are very happy with the significant commitments we’ve made,” she said.
The City of Greater Bendigo was hopeful of $120 million for the Bendigo Law Courts redevelopment as Court Services Victoria finalises a business case.
No further announcements are expected in relation to the GovHub while a business case is completed. The council would lobby for $7 million from the next government, with the majority of the funds to come from a public-private partnership.
The council also sought $100,000 for a feasibility study into further developing the Bendigo CBD, including looking into works required for ageing water pressure problems, and $10 million in state government funds for the Golden Dragon Museum expansion.
In the 2014 campaign, both major parties promised $5.7 million to rebuild Epsom Primary School, $5 million for the Bendigo Stadium development, improvements for Kalianna School and a new roundabout – which later became traffic lights – for Strathfieldsaye.
Labor promised a new tech school, a duplicated Napier Street, TAFE agricultural centre and Bendigo Metro Rail, while the Coalition promised $100 million for the merger of Bendigo and Kangan institutes and to use the Regional Rail Link to improve services to Bendigo.
Promises for Ballarat, Warrnambool
PROMISES FOR BALLARAT (WENDOUREE AND BUNINYONG)
- New primary schools for Miners Rest and Lucas
- $4 million in high school renovations
- $60 million for road intersections
- $100 million for Melton electrification study
- $3 million for an animal shelter
- $5 million basketball centre
- $1.5 million food hub
PROMISES FOR WARRNAMBOOL (SOUTH-WEST COAST)
- $16.3 million for library redevelopment
- $7 million for harbour redevelopment
- $3.5 million for Port Fairy CFA/SES
- $1.14 million for headspace
- $483,000 for Hamilton Air Base
- $610,000 for Foodshare
- $5 million for Emmanuel College
Margins in the regions
- Ripon 0.8% (LIB)
- Shepparton 2.6% (IND)
- Macedon 3.8% (LAB)
- Bendigo East 5.1% (LAB)
- Wendouree 5.8% (LAB)
- Buninyong 6.4% (LAB)
- South-West Coast 10.6% (LIB)
- Polwarth 10.6% (LIB)
- Bendigo West 12.1% (LAB)
- Euroa 14.5% (NAT)
- Ovens Valley 16.6% (NAT)
- Mildura 20.2% (NAT)
- Lowan 21.3% (NAT)
- Murray Plains 22.4% (NAT)
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.