Could Canberra jobs come to our regional city?

MORE Commonwealth jobs will be moved from Canberra to regional centres despite the Federal Government's ongoing troubles relocating the pesticides authority.

The government recommitted to moving agencies out of Canberra in the budget but did not reveal a timeframe or which entities may be moved.

But budget papers foreshadowed relocating agencies into areas struggling with high unemployment.

"The government can play a role in bringing diverse skills and job opportunities to those regional economies and is exploring the potential decentralisation of some Commonwealth agencies to regional centres," budget papers said.

Parts of regional Queensland including the Wide Bay, Gladstone and Mackay have some of the nation's highest unemployment rates.

Business cases for potential relocation will be completed by December 2017.

Budget documents state the government is committed to moving more "non-policy" entities into regional areas.

"The intent is to promote job creation, economic diversification and broaden the diversity of public sector personnel to better reflect the distribution and make-up of Australia's population," the documents state.

"Decentralisation of appropriate non‑policy entities will enhance existing linkages between entities and key stakeholders in the regions."

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority boss Kareena Arthy has resigned following the government's decree the APVMA relocate from Canberra to Armidale.

Labor has dubbed the agency's move into Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's electorate as "pork barrelling".

Advocates for regional Australia will welcome the commitment to moving government entities into regional towns - but Regional Australia Institute chief Jack Archer has previously urged against "rushing headfirst" into decentralisation.

"It's time for the metropolitan monopoly on Australian public service jobs and public power to end," Mr Archer said.

"Relocation is not always an effective response to economic problems in regional Australia. It can alleviate local economic weakness in the short term, but if the decision is reversed in the future it leaves regional centres high and dry with a gaping hole in the housing and labour markets."

- ARM NEWSDESK



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