Persistence is paying off for the council in its campaign for regional business relocation incentives.
The State Government was well aware of Goulburn’s dissatisfaction over the loss of 400 jobs from the city, a council meeting heard on Tuesday.
Council general manager Warwick Bennett and Mayor Bob Kirk again rammed home the message last Thursday. They met with two policy advisers to Deputy Premier and regional development Minister John Barilaro.
“It was a very good meeting and they are saying that everyone in the State Government knows about the loss of Ticket Masters Australia from Goulburn,” Mr Bennett said.
“It was good to hear and the same thing was told to us by Bronnie Taylor (NSW MLC and parliamentary secretary for southern NSW).”
Ticket Masters wanted to relocate to Goulburn, bringing more than 500 jobs but chose Victoria instead, enticed by State Government incentives. The council is campaigning for a similar regional program in NSW.
Mr Bennett said some good news was looming in the upcoming State budget.
“They are putting something together on a case by case basis and to which people can apply. I think the noise made by us and the support of the media has got the message out,” he said.
The council is also winning support from the Canberra Region Joint Organisation of Councils, of which it is a member. The organisation will meet at Sydney’s Parliament House in two weeks, where Goulburn Mulwaree will again bang the table.
Four to five Ministers will address the forum on general issues but Cr Kirk and Mr Bennett will separately meet with Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Mr Barilaro and Roads Minister Melinda Pavey.
“We’ll be talking to the Premier about business relocation and the need for the State Government to be involved,” Cr Kirk said.
He pointed out at the meeting that a firm promising 300 jobs had wanted to relocate to Oberon but was also lured by Victorian government incentives.
“That’s 800 jobs that have gone to Victoria,” he said.
The Mayor informed Mr Barilaro’s policy advisers of this as well.
Moreover, The Age had reported a $90 million top up of Victoria’s “fighting fund” to entice interstate business.
In Sydney, Cr Kirk will also try to enlist funding support for several projects, including the performing arts centre and the Goulburn to Crookwell rail trail.
In addition, the council is lodging a submission to a State inquiry into regional development.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Cr Margaret O’Neill took exception to what she saw as a lack of notification of the recent Liberal State Council meeting in Goulburn.
“I’d like it stated to our local member (Pru Goward) that when these things happen again, that they (Ministers) make themselves available to us,” she said.
Cr Kirk said while only some Ministers attended the Goulburn Soldiers Club forum, he only found out about the gathering the day before. However he did meet with the Premier and was able to secure the upcoming meeting.
On the federal front, the council is talking to Hume MP Angus Taylor about the government’s departmental decentralisation initiative. Mr Bennett said that under the program, it was “a bit bizarre” that departments could not relocate within 150km of Canberra.
The government on Tuesday announced that a $4 billion Regional Investment Corporation, announced in last week's budget, would be located in Orange as part of the decentralisation push.
Meantime, next month’s Politics in the Pub in Goulburn will discuss ‘regional jobs.’ NSW secretary of the AMWU, Tim Ayers and Nathan Patrick from the Goulburn branch of The Nationals are confirmed speakers at this stage. Hume MP Angus Taylor has also been invited.
The forum will be held on June 26, 6.30pm, upstairs at The Astor hotel.