Bendigo Council should “Love Your Local”

Recently, the City of Greater Bendigo launched the ‘Love Your Local’ campaign to encourage us to buy local in order to help small businesses recover from the economic effects of Covid-19 restrictions. So we should. But it’s time for the council to practice what it preaches.

I asked the council’s director of corporate performance, Andrew Cooney, how much the City spent on external goods and services, and how much of this was spent inside and outside Greater Bendigo. External goods and services are things that the City contracts other organisations to supply for us. This could be things like:

  • toilet paper
  • food for events
  • architectural design
  • construction and engineering
  • consultants
  • telecommunications equipment and services

Andrew got back to me very quickly (thanks!) with this table:

As you can see, the City of Greater Bendigo spent about $108m on external goods and services in the year 2019-2020. Of that, about $53m was NOT spent in Bendigo or in the Loddon-Mallee region. However, the City’s own procurement policy states that ‘all other factors being equal, the City must give preference to regional economic benefit when sourcing products’.

The City should increase the proportion of money spent in the city and the region, especially given the need for the local economy to recover from the effects of Covid-19.