COUNCIL leaders will begin a lobbying blitz in Canberra this weekend, but have ruled out an airport funding push while it has other irons in the fire for that long-awaited project.
City of Greater Bendigo mayor Jen Alden and chief executive Craig Niemann will use the visit to get a handle on funding opportunities for a range of projects.
They include finding ways to enlist federal government support for a resource recovery centre the council wants to build at the site of the Eaglehawk landfill, Cr Alden said.
That would be especially important "given the landfill is approaching the end of its life, and provide an update on our approach to managing the impact of city operations on the environment", she said.
The landfill is slated for closure in 2022/23 and the council has been working on plans to help drive its waste footprint down.
Council leaders also plan to meet with independent MP Helen Haines, who has been a big advocate for community energy projects and renewable power.
"We look forward to ... discussing what [Haines] learnt in developing her plan, and learn how Greater Bendigo can harness renewable energy," Cr Alden said.
The trip would also be a chance to share plans for the Bendigo Art Gallery and Golden Dragon Museum.
"The next round of the Building Better Regions Fund includes $100 million for tourism-related infrastructure projects, so we hope to use this visit to progress the advocacy push for these projects," Cr Alden said.
Bendigo Airport funding not on the agenda
Notably, the council will not advocate for funding on one major project it has long pursued federal funding on without success.
The council has been hoping to secure $4.4 million to expand the Bendigo Airport terminal and introduce a business park next door.
The state government has already earmarked $4.5 million for the project.
State regional development minister Mary-Anne Thomas recently wrote to her federal counterpart Michael McCormack demanding certainty on the project.
She said the government would consider looking for other options if Canberra gave no answer by May 31, including potential private sector investment.
Events have progressed since then.
The federal government is currently considering a council application for airport funding through the Building Better Regions Fund.
The council has chosen not to lobby for airport funding during the Canberra trip while it awaits a decision on the application.
Cr Alden said the trip's greatest value would be in introducing new projects to decision makers, so that "when we are ready to submit an application, there is an awareness of the project and what we want to achieve.
"Government funding is competitive, so these meetings keep Greater Bendigo front of mind, provide an opportunity to have face-to-face discussions and explore the projects in depth.
"They also provide us with an idea on if we have to improve or change the projects in any way, to give us the best possible chance of success."
The trip will coincide with next week's National General Assembly of Local Government.
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