Senate inquiry to examine jobs move to regions
The Nationals are calling on regional Australians to make their views clear on why areas outside big cities deserve jobs after a new inquiry into decentralisation of Commonwealth agencies passed with Coalition support in the Senate this week.
The Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee will be holding an inquiry into the operation, effectiveness and consequences of relocating corporate Commonwealth entities, as well as the economic, environmental and capability implications.
“We have been trying to get Labor to engage in the conversation about decentralisation, which is growing jobs into regional Australia and relocating government agencies out of major cities,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said.
“Every town that has ever wanted Centrelink or a tax office, every town that has ever wanted a Centre of Excellence, every town that has wanted an agency such as the Grains Research and Development Corporation or the Murray Darling Basin Authority, now is the time to make your bid.
“Every Council, Chamber of Commerce, CWA and community association in every regional town is invited to make a submission to this inquiry, to tell Canberra and the Labor Party, why regional Australia deserves Commonwealth agencies bringing well-paid, skilled jobs to your area.
“Your views must be made clear in this inquiry or they will be at risk.”
Mr Joyce said decentralisation saved millions of dollars in rent, and moving jobs to regional towns offered housing affordability and a better environment for families.
“The Nationals believe in decentralisation which is spreading job opportunities across Australia,” he said.
“We know there are significant savings in moving to regional areas – relocating the Rural Industries RDC to Wagga Wagga from Canberra will deliver savings of about $1.2 million per year, including $266,000 in rent alone.”
Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said the inquiry is an opportunity to look at regional development opportunities created through relocation of agencies.
"Public service jobs are a huge driver of downstream jobs, especially when placed in regional and rural towns," Minister Nash said.
"Regional Australia deserves the benefits of public sector employment just as much as any capital city. After all, regional Australia supplies the water, food, electricity and gas which powers our cities.
“This inquiry will also examine how decentralised entities will perform their functions operating outside of a major city, or the nation’s capital.
“It’s time for every town in Australia to tell Canberra why they deserve an injection of government investment that will pay off for years to come. It's also a chance for towns and regional groups to put forward their own research into what vibrancy decentralised jobs would breathe into regional communities.”
Minister Joyce said the inquiry would specifically examine the relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to Armidale, specifically its ability to function from the NSW Northern Tablelands and consequences of the move.
“We have long believed that the government should consider shifting federal government departments out of the Sydney CBD to give people the choice of living and working in regional areas, but now it is time to have your say,” Mr Joyce said.
“I urge every interested party in to have their say in this important national conversation.”