Government 'bungles' Goulburn jobs: Opposition

'OPPORTUNITY MISSED': Minister for Regional Development John Barilaro pictured earlier this year with Premier Gladys Berejiklian. His opposition counterpart, David Harris, has accused him of dropping the ball on 400 jobs for Goulburn through Australian Ticket Masters' relocation. Photo: Louise Kennerley.

'OPPORTUNITY MISSED': Minister for Regional Development John Barilaro pictured earlier this year with Premier Gladys Berejiklian. His opposition counterpart, David Harris, has accused him of dropping the ball on 400 jobs for Goulburn through Australian Ticket Masters' relocation. Photo: Louise Kennerley.

Goulburn MP Pru Goward has rejected claims she and her colleagues let 400 jobs for the city slip through their fingers.

Shadow regional development spokesman David Harris has accused his government counterpart John Barilaro and Ms Goward of a “bureaucratic bungle” after a company interested in establishing in Goulburn was instead lured to Victoria by incentives.

Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Bob Kirk had strongly pushed to politicians the need for a similar policy in NSW to keep the company, Australian Ticket Masters, in the State. The Fairfield outfit wanted to set up in Goulburn, bringing up to 400 jobs.

“The Deputy Premier talks big but when it comes to action this Government is missing the mark and failing to keep jobs in NSW,” Mr Harris said.

“The Goulburn Council cried out for help, appealing to local member Pru Goward, the Deputy Premier (John Barilaro) and the whole government Ministry – but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

“The Department has admitted they dropped the ball – what a disaster for another regional city trying to attract jobs and investment.”

Cr Kirk said former Mayor Geoff Kettle met with Mr Barilaro and the company’s managing director Anthony Karam in Sydney last year. Cr Kirk has reiterated his disappointment, saying not one of the 23 Ministers he wrote to about the need for regional relocation incentives had responded.

“To me it was an opportunity missed so badly and we’ll be lucky to get that again. It’s not often that 400 jobs are handed to you,” he said.

But Ms Goward said she discussed the matter with Mr Barilaro, who was concerned that companies could “game the system” if it applied to existing businesses moving to the regions.

“Why should taxpayers subsidise companies that could be moving for any type of reason?” she said.

Ms Goward said there could be any number of reasons the company decided to go to Victoria and it wasn’t clear whether incentives lured it. She told The Post that if this was the case the “ball was in the company’s court” to make the case.

It had not made a separate approach to her on the issue and said if it had, she would have facilitated a meeting with Regional Infrastructure NSW. 

Ms Goward recalled meeting Mr Karam through former Mayor Kettle last year.

The MP made the comments on Monday. On Tuesday she contacted The Post to say that she had arranged a meeting between council general manager Warwick Bennett and parliamentary secretary for regional NSW, Bronwyn Taylor about the matters.

“It may be too late for this company but we must find a better way to help those wanting to move out of Sydney,” she said.  

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