Council to pitch regional development case to inquiry

SOMETHING TO SAY: Mayor Bob Kirk and Goulburn Mulwaree Council will be making a submission to an Upper House inquiry into regional development.
SOMETHING TO SAY: Mayor Bob Kirk and Goulburn Mulwaree Council will be making a submission to an Upper House inquiry into regional development.

The council will be banging the table about regional development at a government inquiry this year.

Mayor Bob Kirk said the council would be making a submission to the NSW Government Upper House inquiry into regional development and a ‘Global Sydney.’

The inquiry was launched last week by the State Development Committee to consider how Sydney’s growing prominence as a global city could enhance regional development in NSW.

Cr Kirk said it was clear the solution for Sydney’s growth lay in regional NSW.

“The State Government must acknowledge that regional NSW has major growth potential and is more than capable of addressing the business needs, growth and opportunities,” he said.

After the recent disappointment of losing Ticket Masters Australia (TMA), who wanted to move to Goulburn from Fairfield, the Mayor is keen to keep the issue on the agenda.

“It is clear we can no longer retain TMA in NSW, but the State Government has a major responsibility to ensure no other businesses in the Sydney basin being forced out by growth pressures are lost from regional NSW as well,” he said. 

State Development Committee chair Greg Pearce said the inquiry would identify sectors of the economy that could provide the greatest opportunities for regional development and consider how collaboration between government, non-government and private sectors could assist the regions to benefit from Sydney’s global position.

The closing date for submissions is June 4, 2017. Public hearings are also anticipated to be held in Sydney and regional NSW later this year.

Meantime, Federal Minister for Regional Development and Deputy Leader of the Nationals Fiona Nash announced at the National Press Club on Wednesday that the government would embark on a decentralisation process.

She said regional people deserved the benefits of government departments and the careers and flow-on benefits they brought just as much as city people did. She noted that Australia’s departments were far more centralised than those in the US and UK.

“I’ll be responsible for creating a template for government Ministers to assess which departments are suitable for decentralisation by mid-year,” Ms 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.”

She said shifting to the country made sense for government departments and capital city residents.