Senate Committee Report on Decentralisation flawed from the start
Friday, 9 June 2017
The Labor dominated Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee’s report in to decentralisation has proven to be what everyone expected, a political excise with more holes than a Swiss cheese.
National’s Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said the majority report is unbalanced, selectively quoting wide ranging views on complicated issues to give a skewed view on the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) move to Armidale.
"Despite 80% of submissions from regional councils being supportive of decentralisation, the only council quoted in the majority report is the City of Cessnock in NSW, an ALP-dominated municipality within the Labor held seat of Hunter.
"If this wasn’t an extremely serious issue to Regional Australia, it would be a joke but it is no joke when Councils and communities that I have spoken to, right across Australia, not just in Victoria, are crying out for decentralisation of government agencies and offices to their communities.
"The majority report complained about a narrow focus in its terms of reference but that is clearly not the case.
"Clause d in the terms of reference specifically empowered the committee to examine any other related matter which was meant to deal with the decentralisation beyond the Armidale move," Senator McKenzie said.
"But they go further, the majority report is filled with selective quotations from witnesses testimony designed to fulfil the objective of Labor Senators to scuttle both the relocation of the AVPMA and the government’s wider decentralisation program to regional areas.
"It was important for the sake of Regional Australia to get this right, Labor bombed it but thankfully the government has announced its own 10-member Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation.
"This will not be dominated by Labor with its own agenda and will include six Government MPs, with three from Labor and one crossbencher.
"Watch this space for a proper, balanced and focused decentralisation inquiry that will truly take the wishes of regional areas into consideration," Senator McKenzie said.