Labor’s Spokesperson for Rural and Regional Australia, Joel Fitzgibbon, and Labor’s Spokesperson for Regional Services, Stephen Jones, have criticised Minister for Regional Development, Fiona Nash’s plan to push for decentralisation of Government departments without a firm commitment to publicly release a cost benefit analysis.
Without a proper assessment of costs, decentralisation risks being an expensive policy failure, and an empty promise for regional and rural Australians.
Capital city and regional residents alike need to know whether Senator Nash's National Press Club speech today reflects Government policy or is just more political spin.
Labor fully supports job creation in regional Australia, and recommends the Government start by properly staffing existing Government Agency offices in regional areas, including Centrelink and the ATO.
The Turnbull Government has a terrible track record in looking after public service jobs, has cut 18,000 jobs overall, including 200 ATO staff sacked in Townsville.
The Government’s relocation of APVMA put the agency in crisis, and will cost up to $60 million.
It resulted in almost 50 per cent of staff resigning, including a significant proportion of highly trained specialists, and will take up to seven years to rebuild the workforce.
Barnaby Joyce has already perpetrated a hoax on regional residents by providing a Policy Order which does no more than pork barrel his own electorate at great cost to taxpayers and farmers.
Malcolm Turnbull must speak up. His silence on the APVMA relocation has been deafening.
Simply shuffling around agencies does not create more jobs, and regional Australia deserves better.