City welcomes Victorian Government budget announcements

The City of Greater Bendigo has welcomed the Victorian Government's investment in a number of local projects, following the announcement of its 2023/2024 Budget.

The Bendigo Art Gallery redevelopment will receive an initial investment of $2M for early works, followed by a further $19M in 2026/2027.

Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said construction on the development will start after the Commonwealth Games.

"The Gallery and the City have always been realistic that the timeline was very tight to deliver the redevelopment before the Commonwealth Games. This approach ensures the Gallery is properly prepared to have a key role in supporting the Games experience and provides adequate time to confirm a further $15M needed for the project - a mix of philanthropic support and a Federal funding commitment," Cr Metcalf said.

"In the meantime, we look forward to starting early works and staff will investigate what this may look like but it will not impact on current operations or future programming."

Bendigo Art Gallery Director Jessica Bridgfoot said Gallery staff had planned for a range of development scenarios and secured all exhibition programming through until mid-2026.

"Our exhibitions are often several years in the making, so we have continued to plan for the coming years while also advocating for funding. We look forward to welcoming a series of exhibitions that showcase international and Australian art, design, fashion and popular culture," Ms Bridgfoot said.

The Bendigo Regional Employment Precinct will receive $2M in 2023/2024 and a further $4M in 2024/2025. The initial funds will go towards planning for the Western Marong Freight Corridor and upgrade of a water main between Bendigo and Marong.

The City also understands there will be an investment of $3.8M over three years to progress two World Heritage initiatives, one being the Central Victorian Goldfields UNESCO World Heritage bid, which is a joint bid involving 13 councils across the region.

Cr Metcalf thanked the Victorian Government for its investment in projects the City had long advocated for.

"We are delighted to see today's Budget reference two election commitments in our region, BREP and the Gallery. These funds are critical to the continued success of these projects and allow for important planning work to continue," she said.

"It is also wonderful to welcome funding for the World Heritage bid, this represents an exciting opportunity to preserve the best examples of our goldrush heritage and drive tourism and jobs across communities. The councils involved are delighted the project can take another step forward."

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