Caucus visit delivers

Peter Kennedy | Bendigo Weekly | 04-Aug-2017

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TODAY’S expected $250,000 donation from the Victorian government to the community campaign in support of the purchase of a new Chinese dragon and his associated regalia, as well as the restoration of 47-year-old Sun Loong, is an important milestone for
Bendigo.

The Sun Loong 750 committee, which I am part of, was drawn together to oversee the fundraising campaign to raise  $750,000 for this project, which has major cultural and historic significance.

Sun Loong, and before him, Loong, are much more than mere dragons to be rolled out and paraded each year as part of the spectacular that is Easter in Bendigo.

The dragons have always added a very colourful and at times loud highlight to the Easter procession as they wind their way through the packed city streets.

But the dragons are also an important heritage and cultural symbol of the contribution the Chinese community has made to our city and its proud history.

So with the contributions of the state government, local community and several other major benefactors now secured, our committee now awaits an opportunity to present the case for federal government funding to complete the goal of enlisting support from the three tiers of government.

Lisa Chesters and locally based National senator Bridget McKenzie has been greatly appreciated, and once the relevant funding program opens, we look forward to presenting the case for more support, and for realising the dream that is Dai Gum Loong.

And while the next state election is still 15 months or so away, it is a wonderful opportunity for Bendigo to have Premier Daniel Andrews and the Labor caucus in town for a couple of days at such a pivotal time in both our city’s history, and in the state’s political cycle.

Several major announcements of economic and employment support for our manufacturing sector, and the commencement of works on the much anticipated mountain bike park in the foothills of Mount Alexander are a welcome boost to our region.

But as highlighted by the Weekly in last week’s front page story, energy costs are a significant concern, not just for households, but for our manufacturing sector.

The announcement of new contracts and jobs is fantastic news for Bendigo, but the sector continues to sight rising energy costs as an ongoing concern.

Whether it’s a national approach to energy costs or  increase energy supply and access, clearly, this is an issue, and a city that can ill-afford any growing pains.

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