Let Regional Australia have its say on decentralisation
Thursday, 13 April 2017
National’s Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie said today Labor is refusing to allow regional councils and others to have their say in the References Committee hearings into decentralising Commonwealth agencies and offices to regional areas.
"I have written to the committee requesting that a number of Councils be invited to appear at the only hearing scheduled outside Canberra, in Townsville.
"That hearing is scheduled for the 19th of May so there is plenty of time to invite Councils to put their case in support of the National’s decentralisation plan.
"If it doesn’t agree 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.
Almost 200 submissions, mostly from Councils agree with the National’s decentralisation proposal including Cessnock, Alice Springs Town Council, Bega Valley Council, Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils, Longreach, City of Wodonga, Orange, Mildura, Shepparton and Armidale Councils.
"The Committee must allow Councils to present their support for decentralisation to the Townsville hearing either in person or by teleconference or video link.
"The Committee did not agree to my proposal for extra regional hearings but it must invite Councils to make a submission in Townsville.
Decentralisation of Commonwealth offices and agencies into the regions is a great National’s proposal; it should not be abused by Labor for political purposes at the expense of regional Australia", Senator McKenzie said