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Decentralisation under the microscope as part of new inquiry

In a recent blog for AustralianFarmers, Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan called for an inquiry into the Nationals-led move to decentralise Government departments.

Last week Ms McGowan got her wish with the Government backing the Members’ motion to establish a new House of Representatives Select Committee to do just this. The Member for Indi was appointed as the only non-party parliamentarian member of the committee.

The inquiry will look at best practice approaches to regional development, examine decentralisation of Commonwealth entities as a way to increase growth and analyse ways to encourage greater corporate decentralisation.

The news comes after Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash announced the beginning of a new, structured approach to the decentralisation of Government agencies and a push to encourage large corporate entities to relocate all, or part of, their operations to regional towns and cities. Read Minister Nash’s AustralianFarmers blog here

To this extent we strongly support Minister Nash and Ms Gowan in their visions for our regions.
Fiona Simson, President, National Farmers' Federation

The establishment of the inquiry also follows ongoing concern about party and electorate matters influencing the locations to which agencies are decentralised and vocal criticism of the process surrounding the relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to Armidale. See the National Farmers’ Federations comments on the process here.

Ms Gowan’s vision for the select committee hails back to when she first came to Parliament in 2013 and realised there was not a committee for regional development and government. She was also concerned that the nation was short of a cohesive, long-term strategy for the development of rural and regional Australia.

National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President Fiona Simson said the NFF was a vocal advocate for investment and innovation to enhance the vibrancy and prosperity of regional towns.

“Farmers and regional people know first-hand the benefits of living and working in regional communities and we have strong vested interest in seeing these communities remain viable.

“To this extent we strongly support Minister Nash and Ms Gowan in their visions for our regions,” Ms Simson said.

Farmers will want to make sure there is a strong business case, and the effectiveness of the bureaucratic process is not going to suffer as a result of any proposed move.
Fiona Simson, President, National Farmers' Federation

Ms Simson cited Toowoomba and its recent developments, including a new airport, as an example of a strong regional hub and said there was huge potential to continue developing other hubs in regional centres.

However Ms Simson said any plans to move Government bodies must be methodical and driven by common-sense.

 “Farmers will want to make sure there is a strong business case, and the effectiveness of the bureaucratic process is not going to suffer as a result of any proposed move.”

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1 Responses

    While I don't agree with Barnaby very often, I do agree with the move of the APVMA to a regional area. This department has been taken over by ill-informed city-centric vegans who have absolutely no idea about the industry that the majority of their decisions effect - agriculture. For too long their decisions have adversely effected the ability of farmers to control vermin on their properties simply because the city based APVMA is more worried about the possible 'suffering of poor foxes' than they are about the actual suffering of lambs eaten by foxes, or the massive amounts of native animals being slaughtered by those 'poor foxes'. A move out of the city might just be what the department needs to weed out these biased employees. Personally I am deeply offended by the anti-country rhetoric around this move. The suggestion that qualified scientists only exist in inner city areas and that anyone who lives in a regional area can't possibly be qualified to do the work required by the APVMA is insulting and incorrect. Given the current inefficiency and poor decisions in the city-based APVMA, I think that a regionally based APVMA could not possibly do any worse.

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