THE federal Labor party has pledged $100,000 to fund the next stage of the Bendigo Islamic Community Centre (BICC) if elected in May.
The promise will enable the now barren centre to be fitted out for the local Islamic community.
The East Bendigo building is just one stage of the broader community space which plans to eventually see the erection of an adjacent mosque.
"Bendigo has a really significant multicultural history," he said.
"We've been taken through this community centre which is part of a bigger mosque precinct project that has captured the nation's attention.
"It tells a great story about Bendigo, a welcoming and diverse community."
Despite violent protests from far-right opposers early in the planning process, federal Labor remains committed to the project and the Islamic community are excited for the project to progress.
"I believe it is everyone's basic right to worship," BICC spokesperson Dr Aisha Neelam said, "and we're hoping we can use this centre to foster interface dialogue and peace."
"The Bendigo community has a growing tradition of tolerance and respect for each other and this community centre is a labour of love.
"We want to thank everybody that has been on this journey with us."
While the funding promise is welcome, Dr Neelam said much more was needed to complete the project.
"At the risk of sounding ungrateful, this is truly just a drop in the ocean for us," she said.
"It is moving at a snail's pace at the moment, we get a little bit of funding and then move to the next stage."
Once the $100,000 is used to fit out the space, the centre requires an intersection to allow Bendigo's over 500 strong islamic community inside.
Dr Neelam said the group is working with VicRoads and greater Bendigo council to get funding approval to build the Rohs Road intersection.
"The hold up at the moment is the intersection and the carpark," she said.
Dr Neelam said for the past decade the group have been gathering in rented community centres or members' houses.
"But we've kind of outstripped the capacity of most of these places," she said.
"It will be nice to have a community space where people can just gather and be themselves."
Federal member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters MP said the coalition government had been hindering the community's efforts to build the centre.
"Every time there is a fund that this group can apply for they don't find out about it until the fund has closed," she said.
"As we now know, these funds tend to get rorted or decided by colour coded seats."
Ms Chesters said because Bendigo was considered a safe Labor seat, community groups such as BICC often miss out on funding opportunities from coalition governments.
"That shouldn't be how we do government," she said, "government should be done based upon need."
The $100,000 funding is a welcome change of pace from the almost $2 million Chesters has promised to local sporting groups since the beginning of the election campaign.
Federal Labor said should they win the election they were "confident they would continue to have constructive conversations with (BICC) to help with the next stages of the project."
Bendigo Liberal MP Darin Schade did not comment on whether the coalition would match the funding.
Mr Schade has announced just one election campaign promise - a $5,000 grant for the Bendigo Women's Cycling Challenge, however told the Bendigo Advertiser on Tuesday there was "more to come".
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