Victorian councils enter caretaker period on Tuesday when nominations for next month's municipal elections close.
We can expect robust campaigns across the region with a heightened appetite for democracy, no doubt borne out of frustrations with all levels of government.
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Local government should be all about communities because at the grass roots level, projects, initiatives, upgrades, have profound impacts and often mean more to people living in those areas rather than impersonal big-picture state and federal government developments.
The next four years for the local government sector offer up some of the most complex and challenging situations, bought about by the events of 2020, and most specifically, the global pandemic.
The economic impacts of the coronavirus, or more precisely, the fallout from the decisions that needed to be made, will require years of prudent financial management and acumen to resolve.
Our economy has been dealt a series of devastating blows in the past six months, and we've yet to determine the way out of the pandemic, or from an economic stance, determine how we will fund our recovery.
Australia and indeed Bendigo has been spared the worst of this virus - thus far, with a fraction of the deaths many other countries have experienced.
But our response mechanisms to the pandemic have laid bare the fiscal cost of staring down the virus, and also the enormous work required to restore our economy.
The next group of councillors will need to debate and decide on what our community must do to play its part in the revival, working in conjunction with the state and federal governments. Daunting yes, but it's also a once in a lifetime opportunity.
We acknowledge the role spending on infrastructure plays in stimulating the economy, boosting jobs and improving our quality of life.
Bendigo needs the next group of councillors to bring vision, advocacy and imagination to the table to fight for the generational change that will elevate our city and its claim to be Australia's most livable.
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