Local Senator and Deputy Leader of the Nationals Fiona Nash announced on Wednesday the Coalition Government’s plans to embark on a decentralisation program to bring more government department jobs to regional areas.
During her National Press Club speech Minister Nash said regional people deserved to reap the benefits of government departments and to pursue careers the same way as their city counterparts do.
Ms Nash also said she believes that regional areas should receive the same flow-on benefits as city areas.
“I'll be responsible for creating a template for government Ministers to assess which departments are suitable for decentralisation by mid-year,” Ms Nash said.
“Departments will need to either indicate that they're suitable to move to the regions or justify why all or part of their operation is unsuitable.”
But opponents of the move to decentralise have claimed the Federal Government plans to clean out public service positions and the policy could result in the most serious assault on the economic fabric of the national capital since its establishment 104 years ago.
ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja broke ranks on the decentralisation push on Wednesday night, saying departments shouldn't have to "waste time justifying why they should stay in Canberra".
"If the Commonwealth wants to consider moving government departments they should be moved from Sydney or Melbourne rather than Canberra, which is a regional centre,” Mr Seselja said. "I have been on the record and made it very clear that I support Canberra as the national capital and the centre of government.”
Ms Nash however can only see the positives for regional areas with the move.
“Moving government departments to the regions puts more money in our towns, more customers in our shops, more students in our schools and more volunteers in our local fire brigade,” she said. “It also creates more career opportunities for our children to enable them to stay in the communities they grew up in.”