THE Australian Government has embarked on its decentralisation program, Minister for Regional Development and Deputy Leader of the Nationals Fiona Nash announced at the National Press Club last week.
In her announcement, Ms Nash said regional people deserved the benefits of government departments and the careers and flow-on benefits they bring just as much as city people do, noting Australia's departments are far more centralised than those in the US and UK.
"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.
"All portfolio Ministers will need to report back to Cabinet by August on which of their departments are suitable to be moved to regional Australia, and relevant Ministers will need to report to Cabinet with robust business cases for decentralisation by December.
"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.
"It also creates more career opportunities for our children to enable them to stay in the communities they grew up in. Those careers will help lure some of our young guns back to the bush as well as some city people to our regions, relieving the burden on our bursting capital cities.
"It's important for government to lead by example and invest in rural, regional and remote Australia, creating long term careers and confidence in those communities—and we're doing it.
"While people are stuck in traffic on Melbourne's Monash tollway or Sydney's M7, country people are getting to work in five minutes and parking out the front of their favourite restaurants.
"Shifting to the country makes sense both for government departments and capital city residents."
Photo: 'Australia seen from space at night' / Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, NASA/GSFC / Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.