O'Toole and McAllister Media Release: Inquiry comes to Townsville to expose empty talk on regional jobs

9.30am | May 19, 2017

SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER

CHAIR, FINANCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION REFERENCES COMMITTEE

SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

CATHY O‘TOOLE

MEMBER FOR HERBERT 

INQUIRY COMES TO TOWNSVILLE TO EXPOSE EMPTY TALK ON REGIONAL JOBS

A Senate hearing in Townsville today will consider cuts to public sector jobs in regional centres.

The Senate Inquiry into the Operations and Effectiveness of Government Decisions on the Location of Commonwealth Departments has previously heard that the Turnbull Government wasted millions of taxpayer dollars relocating a government agency from Canberra to Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce’s electorate last year.

Regional towns in other electorates have not had the same contribution, with cuts to public sector jobs badly damaging regional centres like Townsville.

The Chair of the inquiry, Senator McAllister, said: “ The Government is all talk and no action when it comes to decentralisation. During the election the Turnbull Government was able to find millions to move the APVMA to Barnaby Joyce's seat, but this last week's budget allocates no money for the decentralisation plan announced by the Minister for Regional Development.

“Australia deserves a proper plan for growing jobs in all of our regions, not just in the Deputy Prime Minister’s electorate,“ said Senator McAllister.

The APVMA’s move comes at the same time as sweeping public sector job losses. Almost 18 000 jobs have been cut across across the Department of Human Services, Australian Tax Office and CSIRO, many in regional Australia, including 200 ATO staff from Townsville.

There are thousands more public sector job cuts in the 2017 Budget, and the Turnbull Government has been silent about how many will come from Townsville.

Member for Herbert, Cathy O’Toole said, “If this government was serious about public sector jobs in the regions they wouldn’t have sacked 200 ATO staff here in Townsville, and they wouldn’t be looking to cut more jobs now.  I’m worried that regional Australia may bear the brunt of this government’s new job cuts.

We also need to see focus on what departments suit what areas. Townsville being the home to the largest veterans and ex serving population in the nation, would suit to the Department of Veterans. It is just common sense.“ 

The cost of moving the APVMA has been estimated to be as high as $60 million, with 200 highly skilled jobs shifting out of Canberra and into Barnaby Joyce’s electorate. It is the government’s most expensive decentralisation project. The APVMA employs regulatory scientists to ensure that the pesticides and animal medicines used in Australia are both effective and safe.

MEDIA CONTACT: REUBEN RAY (MCALLISTER) 0402 821 188

                          JESSICA NAUNTON (O‘TOOLE) 0408 192 255


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