The state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber, says the Federal Government’s new directive on agencies to make the case on potential moves to regional Australia can lead to greater confidence and economic growth in regions.
“For some time now, the NSW Business Chamber has argued that so long as the economics of a move stack up, and services are maintained or are improved, decentralisation can have a positive impact – both on agency staff and the regional communities,” said NSW Business Chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright.
“We know that when a big business opens up in a regional area the local economy thrives as there are more people supporting local businesses,” Mr Cartwright said.
“It also brings greater expertise to a region through skilled workers, helping to overcome a challenge that is constantly raised by our members in the quarterly Business Conditions Surveys.
“The Federal Government has taken a very sensible approach to its decentralisation plan, with Ministers given a period of three months to make the case for their respective agencies to move or stay in their current location.
“One size doesn’t fit all – and this announcement won’t result in every agency being based in regional Australia – but where the economics and benefits work out, then it should be absolutely embraced.
“In NSW, the success of agency moves to the regions, like the Department of Primary Industries located in Orange, demonstrates that when Governments get the fundamentals right, these moves can work.
“Where an individual department can’t be moved, the Government should also consider the potential of multi-departmental tele-working hubs in outer metropolitan or regional centres. These centres can allow government workers across different agencies to work remotely from a single office via high speed communications infrastructure
“It’s easy to criticize Governments for talking up their support for Regional Australia without actually doing anything – well here we have a Government supporting the long term viability of regional centres with a genuine commitment to bring new jobs and investment into these areas.
“There are regional centres right across NSW that can benefit from these moves – not just on the coast but inland and border communities as well,” Mr Cartwright said.