Councils must have say in decentralisation

LABOR is refusing to allow regional councils and others to have their say in the references committee hearings into decentralising Commonwealth agencies and offices to regional areas.

I have written to the committee requesting that a number of councils be invited to appear at the only hearing scheduled outside Canberra, in Townsville.

That hearing is scheduled for May 19 so there is plenty of time to invite councils to put their case in support of The Nationals’ decentralisation plan.

If it doesn’t agree, Labor’s intransigence proves yet again that its focus is on cities.

Labor doesn’t understand regional areas at all – it is prepared to abuse Senate processes to play politics in Canberra.

It does this at the expense of regional communities it currently represents including Ballarat and Bendigo.

Almost 200 submissions, mostly from councils, agree with The Nationals decentralisation proposal including Cessnock, Alice Springs Town Council, Bega Valley Council, Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils, Longreach, City of Wodonga, Orange, Mildura, Shepparton and Armidale councils.

Decentralisation of Commonwealth offices and agencies into the regions is a great proposal by The Nationals – it should not be abused by Labor for political purposes at the expense of regional Australia.

Bridget McKenzie,

The Nationals Senator for Victoria

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