Graham McVean.
Graham McVean. Paul Braven GLA111115REMEMBER

'Perfect sense': 345 Gladstone jobs if department moves

A GLADSTONE resident has called out the Deputy Prime Minister in the hope of relocating a government department to the heart of Gladstone's CBD.

Avid letter-to-the-editor writer, Graham McVean said as part of the Senate's inquiry into creating jobs for regional Australia by relocating government agencies into cities like Gladstone, there's one agency that just fits.

"The Australian Maritime and Safety Authority," he said.

Mr McVean said he wrote to the deputy PM Barnaby Joyce last week and followed up with a formal submission today, after the The Federal Government called on councils, chamber of commerces, community organisations and residents to have their say.

"AMSA has roughly 345 staff located in Canberra and last time I checked there weren't many large ships calling into Canberra," Mr McVean said.

"It makes perfect sense to me that a national maritime authority should be based close to where the majority of ship movements occur.

"I will be talking to State Member Glenn Butcher asking him to work to relocate the Department of Mines and Natural Resources to Gladstone.

"After all there are no mines in Queen Street," he said.

"A copy of my submission was sent to Gladstone Regional Council who have agreed to support it along with Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd."

While Cr Burnett said the council would welcome any agency with open arms, there were many "obvious choices" for Gladstone.

"There's no reason why we couldn't house the Department of Agriculture, I mean, that's a no-brainer," he said.

"Gladstone is the economic heart of central Queensland, so another obvious choice would be any department working with ports and shipping.

"We have one of Australia's greatest harbours, why would you relocate anywhere else?"

Cr Burnett said he would be keen to see any kind of regional development agency, as well as any department for Northern Queensland.

"And we as a local government already provide a number of state and federal services here, including Centrelink, Medibank, Medicare and more. There would be no issues between levels of government, we would work together harmoniously," he said.

A copy of the council's formal submission will be provided to The Observer upon its completion.

Minister Barnaby Joyce said now was the time to get engaged in the conversation of "decentralisation".

"Which is growing jobs into regional Australia and relocating government agencies out of major cities," he said.

"Every town that has ever wanted Centrelink or a tax office, every town that has ever wanted a Centre of Excellence, every town that has wanted an agency such as the Grains Research and Development Corporation or the Murray Darling Basin Authority, now is the time to make your bid.

"Every council, Chamber of Commerce, CWA and community association in every regional town is invited to make a submission to this inquiry, to tell Canberra and the Labor Party, why regional Australia deserves Commonwealth agencies bringing well-paid, skilled jobs to your area.

"Your views must be made clear in this inquiry or they will be at risk."

Minister Joyce said decentralisation saved millions of dollars in rent for organisations.



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