Labor playing politics on decentralisation
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
National’s Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie said today Labor’s refusal to hold more References Committee hearings into decentralising Commonwealth agencies and offices to regional areas, who are strongly backing the move, is another example of its bloody mindedness on the issue.
"The Labor chaired Committee refused my request for more regional hearings including Armidale in northern NSW where the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is to be relocated.
"Instead, it decided to have a hearing in Townsville, the only regional hearing outside Canberra."
Senator McKenzie said Labor’s intransigence proves yet again that its focus is on cities.
"Labor doesn’t understand regional areas at all; it is prepared to abuse Senate processes to play politics in Canberra. It does this at the expense of regional communities it current represents including Ballarat and Bendigo.
"Both of these regional cities made submissions supporting moving government departments to the regions.
"Instead it remains blinkered, concentrating on politics rather than what is in the best interests of all Australians, no matter what their postcode."
Senator McKenzie said she was disappointed that Croplife, the National Farmers Federation and Animal Medicines Australia in submissions to the Committee did not back the relocation of the APVMA to the University of New England in Armidale.
"However from the 198 submissions to the inquiry on decentralisation, 175 supported the proposal with only 4 directly opposed to the idea.
"In its submission the City of Wodonga makes a strong case for the relocation of the Murray Darling Basin Authority to the region and yet the ALP dominated Committee refused to conduct hearings in places like Wodonga, Bendigo or Ballarat.
It denied regions the chance to voice their solid support for the National’s decentralisation plan.