Media Release – Wide Bay Burnett Welcomes Decentralisation Push

Region welcomes govt’s decentralisation push

Federal government employees will be encouraged to make a “sea and tree change” to live and work in regional Australia as part of a Federal Government decentralisation push.

Minister for Regional Development Senator Fiona Nash said rural, regional and remote Australians deserve the careers, flow-on benefits and jobs offered by government departments and their agencies just as much as capital city Australians do.

By August, all commonwealth ministers will be expected to report back detailing which of their departments, entities or functions are suitable for relocation to a regional area.

Senator Nash said well-managed decentralisation was a smart tactic in the housing affordability battle, as it relieves pressure on capital cities and creates the lure of quality careers in the country.

“Moving government functions to the regions means more people in our towns, more customers in our shops, more students in our schools, and more volunteers for the local fire brigade,” Senator Nash said.

She said there were some departments and functions which are not appropriate to move away from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

“However, there are countless successful examples of government decentralisation, including the New South Wales DPI in Orange and the GRDC to Dubbo, Centrelink and ASIC call-centres in Traralgon, the Transport Accident Commission, and soon the NDIS in Geelong.”

Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett chair Bill Trevor welcomed the government’s push which was the result of a senate inquiry to which RDA WBB put in a submission.

“This is good policy. We need to build sustainable rural, regional and remote communities that our children and our grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to,” Cr Trevor said.

“The majority of these government jobs are skilled and well paid and would help boost regional economies.

“Our regions have been the dominant source of economic growth in the mining, agriculture and manufacturing industries since 2001 and have punched above their weight in terms of contributing to growth in industries like healthcare and construction.

“The Wide Bay Burnett has a diverse economy that would be well suited to government agencies from agriculture to environment, defence, health and social services.”

Cr Trevor said the Australian economy was powered by its regions and greater support and acknowledgement was deserved by city dwellers and decision makers.

“Regional Australia is responsible for 67 per cent of our exports and 45 per cent of domestic tourism. We grow the food that is put on the table. Quite simply, with regional Australia the country would grind to a halt.”

Minister Nash said government decentralisation was only part of the puzzle and the private sector needed to follow the government’s lead.

“We also have to focus on corporate decentralization. It’s been a huge success in some areas.

“Businesses interested in establishing in regional Australia could look up which part of the nation is best suited for them and save costs too, as rents, rates and set-up costs are far cheaper in the country.”

For more information or comment please contact Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett Chair Bill Trevor on 0428 988 116 or executive officer Scott Rowe on 0429 881 697.