'More money for locals': Push to bring major ATO HQ to Gladstone
IN A push to boost employment opportunities and secure more federal funding for Gladstone, Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd has backed his party's idea to "decentralise" Canberra and move government offices into regional areas.
As part of The Nationals' "Get Out of the City" campaign, Mr O'Dowd urged local residents, community groups and Gladstone Regional Council to make submissions to the Senate enquiry into decentralisation.
He said it was important for regional voices to be heard in Canberra "to highlight the massive national benefits decentralising can have".
MAYOR'S PITCH | 'Anything for jobs': Mayor wants major department in Gladstone
At the last federal election Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce confirmed the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority would move from the big smoke to his electorate in Armidale.
The $25 million move was hounded down by the Labor Party, which accused Mr Joyce of "pork-barrelling", and just last week a Senate Estimates hearing heard that APVMA staff had been working out of McDonald's.
However, Mr O'Dowd said regional centres like Gladstone "deserve their fair share of government services and opportunities".
"That includes being able to access quality public sector careers just as much as any capital city," Mr O'Dowd said.
"We have a very centralised nation, based around a handful of large cities, but we all know regional centres have so much to offer.
"Every public service job in a regional town flows through the community and means more money for the local coffee shop, to the local mechanic ... and helps to deliver better transport services."
Mr O'Dowd said Gladstone should be an attractive option for relocation because of the affordable housing, corporate office space and airport, not to forget the weather.
"Due to its status as one of the nation's key transport hubs, I can really see Gladstone playing host to offices of Australian Maritime Safety Authority and Biosecurity Australia," Mr O'Dowd said.
Mayor Matt Burnett said he supported the push to get government offices to Gladstone and had made a submission to get the Australian Tax Office in town.
Click here to make a submission for the enquiry.