The Government has embarked on its decentralisation program, Minister for Regional Development, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, announced at the National Press Club this week.
Minister Nash said regional people deserved the benefits of government departments and the careers and flow-on benefits they bring just as much as city people do.
“I'll be responsible for creating a template for government Ministers to assess which departments are suitable for decentralisation by mid-year,” Minister Nash said.
“Departments will need to either indicate that they're suitable to move to the regions or justify why all or part of their operation is unsuitable. All portfolio Ministers will need to report back to Cabinet by August on which of their departments are suitable to be moved to regional Australia, and relevant Ministers will need to report to Cabinet with robust business cases for decentralisation by December.
“Moving government departments to the regions puts more money in our towns, more customers in our shops, more students in our schools and more volunteers in our local fire brigade.
“It also creates more career opportunities for our children to enable them to stay in the communities they grew up in. Those careers will help lure some of our young guns back to the bush as well as some city people to our regions, relieving the burden on our bursting capital cities.
“It's important for government to lead by example and invest in rural, regional and remote Australia, creating long term careers and confidence in those communities.”
Minister Nash also announced that people living in rural and remote regions of Australia will get the same access to psychologists as those living in our major cities, under a new telehealth initiative set to roll out later this year.