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Thursday, 5 December 2013
Page: 1838

Ms CHESTERS (Bendigo) (09:42): I am excited today to speak on behalf of the constituents in my electorate about our new theatre. On Friday 15 November, the City of Greater Bendigo announced the name of the new Theatre which will be known as the Ulumbarra Theatre. This theatre is a $25.8 million community project currently under construction at the former Bendigo Gaol site. Ulumbarra means 'to gather together' or 'meeting place' in the language of the local Dja Dja Wurrung people. I don't think we could have chosen a better name for this new state-of-the-art theatre. The name was chosen through a formal process which involved the public putting forward their suggestions. Over 250 submissions were received and a large number of them called for this name, an Indigenous name: Ulumbarra. Chairperson of the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, Graham Atkinson, said that this was an important and positive step forward and that he looks forward to the relationship with the theatre.

Construction of the theatre is underway, as I mentioned, and I have had the opportunity on several occasions to visit the site for updates on the progress. It is an example of how we can take old, historic infrastructure and turn it into something new and exciting. The work that is being done with the Bendigo Senior Secondary College and the council is bringing together education and the community into a new theatre. When it is completed in 2015, it will feature 1,000 seats, a two-tiered theatre complex with a large stage, and a fly tower. This is something we do not currently have in Bendigo, so it will be wonderful to have this facility. The project also includes entry through the old Marong cell block, which houses the original gallows; again respecting the original and historic structure of the building. This $25.8 million project includes a $12.3 million contribution from the Australian government's Regional Development Australia Fund Round One. RDAF supports infrastructure needs of regional Australia. It is a vital Labor government reform that ensures our regional communities get the capital funding they need for projects that are identified as priorities in local communities.

It may surprise some to find out that I agree with the comments of our new minister for this portfolio, Mr Truss, about this project. He said, 'When completed, this project will provide the wider Bendigo region with a fantastic new asset.' I agree, and perhaps the minister will not miss the opportunity to cut the ribbon at this wonderful project. It is, however, disappointing that the minister has refused to fund all rounds of RDAF, including Round Five. At risk is the Bendigo Botanic Gardens— (Time expired)