Case for Townsville jobs raised at Estimates hearing

Townsville based Government Senator Ian Macdonald has told Treasury Secretary John Fraser in Estimates today that there will continue to be ‘two Australias’ unless senior public servants and industry and business leaders are located in regional areas.

Senator Macdonald asked Mr Fraser if he saw it as one of the problems with society in Australia today.

“The Treasury Secretary himself said it is vital that Treasury, and government more broadly, make an effort to engage widely with different industries and regions to understand how they see the economy moving,” Senator Macdonald said.

“As the Treasury Secretary commented, Australia is a very diverse country, with different factors impacting on different parts of the country, and there needs to be a greater focus on taking advantage of the obvious benefits in relocating staff to the regions,” Senator Macdonald said. 

Mr Fraser’s response, ‘we are working on it’, followed comments on the difficulty in balancing resources and costs.

“While Mr Fraser didn’t rule it out, he did say it is important that we have the ‘flexibility to apply the feedback we receive – and a little bit of expert judgement – to our forecasts for the economy’.

“I believe there is definitely an opportunity to shift more public servants into regional areas like Townsville, and in my role as Chair of the Northern Australia Whitepaper Implementation Oversight Committee, I will continue to make the case for Townsville and the north as the logical place to roll out the Government’s decentralisation agenda.”

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