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Future of Fortuna in State's hands

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan, said the future of Bendigo's historic Fortuna Villa was in the hands of the State Liberal National Government.

Ms Allan and Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards, have been briefed by the Friends of Fortuna on their plan to be presented tonight at a public meeting.

Ms Allan said the hard work undertaken by the Friends of Fortuna to present to the Liberal National Government a plan for Fortuna was commendable, but needed political will to make it a reality.

"The previous Labor Government had a vision for the future of Fortuna as a community precinct. We made it clear to the Federal Government that we wanted the first opportunity to redevelop the site, and backed that up with a commitment of $7 million."

"This commitment was not matched by the Liberal National Government, and since their election, they have not made it clear to the Bendigo community that they too share a vision that retains Fortuna as a vibrant community centre."

"Ensuring Fortuna Villa remains a community asset requires political will and leadership from the State Liberal National Government. Bendigo has not seen this from the Government, and the future of Fortuna remains uncertain."

"The Liberal National Government needs to make their intentions clear and answer the following key questions:

1. Does the Liberal National Government support the retention of Fortuna Villa as an asset to be used by the local community?

2. Has the Liberal National Government repeated the expression of interested made by the previous Labor Government to the Commonwealth Government since last November's election?

3. If so, is the Liberal National Government prepared to make a financial contribution towards the restoration of the Fortuna Villa site?

4. Why has the Liberal National Government required a volunteer community group to prepare a ‘Business Plan' when it has not made a commitment to the future of Fortuna Villa?

5. If the Liberal National Government believes the plan prepared for the previous Labor Government was ‘not viable', can they explain which elements of the plan were viable, and which were not?

The Bendigo community deserves a response from the Liberal National Government," Ms Allan said.

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