The ABC’s Peter Ryan reports (21.4.17) on the federal government’s push, led by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, to relocate some public service staff and operations to rural and regional parts of Australia, in moves criticised by expert observers.
‘The Productivity Commission has warned against the Federal Government’s decentralisation agenda arguing it would be costly and impose “unintended consequences” on the economy.
‘In its Transitioning Regional Economies report, the commission raised serious concerns about plans to relocate the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) from Canberra to Armidale in northern New South Wales.
‘”There is an increased risk that the move to Armidale will weaken the APVMA, increasing the costs borne by the Australian Government and taxpayers, and hampering the organisation’s work,” the commission warned.
‘… The push towards decentralisation from Canberra has been driven by the Nationals amid pressure on government departments to justify why agencies should remain headquartered in Canberra.
‘The commission also warned against subsidies and assistance to struggling regional communities and said governments at times had “given false hope to people and businesses”.’