A GREATER Bendigo councillor has said the state government needs to "come to the party" during discussion as debate rages about heritage buildings being demolished by neglect.
Cr Dave Fagg welcomed the petition during Monday night's council meeting, saying it would help prompt discussions about problematic new Victorian laws.
"There is no real guidance from the state government on how to implement it," he said.
Cr Fagg did not elaborate about exactly what the state government was not doing, and he was not speaking on behalf of the council or city staff.
The Advertiser is reaching out to the government for a response to the comments, which were made a short time ago.
The paper does not expect an answer tonight.
Cr Fagg's comments came during a discussion on the National Trust Bendigo branch's petition on what it branded "demolition by neglect" of a host of heritage listed buildings.
"Often, such properties are left unattended and neglected, and are open to vandalism to the extent that the only option is demolition," the branch said in a petition calling for beefed up council powers.
Branch president Peter Cox said the council needed to add new measures to its planning scheme in line with legislation Victoria's parliament passed in 2021.
"They've spent millions of dollars on heritage overlays because it is so expensive to do all the research that justifies it," he told the Bendigo Advertiser last week.
"You don't go spending that money and then allow the property to deteriorate and be destroyed. It doesn't make sense."
Cr Jen Alden said on Monday night that demolition by neglect was an issue councillors had discussed a number of times over the years, including whether a list of at-risk properties was needed.
"I think we can all think of many examples around our town," she said.
"Thank goodness we've got the National Trust. Without their advocacy over the years a huge swathe of significant buildings and other heritage in this country wouldn't exist anymore."
The petition was one of two that the council formally accepted for consideration on Monday night.
The other was ratepayers' demands that developers foot larger bills for social housing.
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Bendigo Uniting Churches' Social Justice Group is calling for developers to set aside some of their land.
Convener Geoff Scott said the community needed to have a long, hard look at how it approached affordable housing.
"We would love it if the council really pushed hard to include them in some of these developments," he said last week.
Cr Fagg thanked the Social Justice Group on Monday night for the petition and said the council had previously signed off on a plan to advocate for similar ideas with the state government.
"I look forward to the report from council officers that includes the progress that has been made on this action item," he said.
Council staff are expected to offer advice on both petitions within two months, when councillors will be expected to take formal positions.
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