Fair Council Spending Across Greater Bendigo

Does Bendigo council spend fairly across our whole municipality?

From the draft 2020/2021 council budget, it is clear that most spending is concentrated in the centre of the city. Areas like Long Gully and Golden Square are almost completely neglected, and the northern growth corridor through to Huntly needs more community infrastructure. Small towns like Woodvale have been advocating for simple items for over a decade.

Have a look at this online map that Nigel Preston put together, using data from the draft budget for 2020/2021. You can see for yourself how concentrated spending is in the CBD.

I recognise that spending on council assets such as the Bendigo Art Gallery and the Hargreaves Mall is necessary to stimulate business and attract tourists. But let’s remember, most Bendigonians live in the suburbs, not in the CBD. These neighbourhoods need extra spending to make them livable, healthy, and attractive. There needs to be a shift in the balance of spending to reflect this fact.

Bendigo needs to commit to the 10-minute neighbourhood idea, but we cannot do that without seriously investing in 2 types of neighbourhoods:

  1. Growth corridors such as the Epsom/White Hills/Huntly area, which needs a community hub.
  2. Historically neglected areas like Long Gully, which needs a community plan to guide its future development.

Our neighbourhoods are where people actually live. There is a pressing need to invest in social infrastructure so that these places remain healthy and attractive places to live.