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Abbott to move agency, but which one?

Opposition leader Tony Abbott.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott. Photo: Supplied

Mystery surrounds the identity of the public service agency the Coalition has earmarked for relocation from Canberra to the NSW central coast.

Campaigning in Gosford on Tuesday, Liberal leader Tony Abbott said if elected he would ''relocate'' a government agency, and up to 300 jobs, to the central coast town.

''Part of [the Coalition's] plan for a stronger economy is specifically targeted plans for regions that are struggling,'' Mr Abbott said.

But the Opposition Leader did not say which, if any, agency had been selected for the relocation process and his office did not respond to a request for more details.

In his announcement, Mr Abbott said the agency would act as an ''anchor tenant'' in the town's office market and bring 300 public service jobs to Gosford.

According to the Coalition's ''growth plan for the central coast'', sending a Commonwealth agency to Gosford would ''lead to direct employment within the agency and secondary employment through increased economic activity in cafes, retail shopping and other services''.

''The Coalition believes there is scope for appropriate Commonwealth agencies or functions to be relocated in whole or part from Canberra to regional areas, as will occur with the locating of the national disability insurance scheme in Geelong.''

Canberra-based staff of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry were told last week that several hundred of their jobs could be moved to regional Australia but it is unlikely that DAFF is the agency targeted by the Coalition for the Gosford move.

The Coalition's political opponents in the ACT seized on Mr Abbott's announcement on Tuesday, with Greens Senate candidate Simon Sheikh demanding the opposition identify which agency it intends to move. ''Canberrans are looking for answers. Where will these jobs be cut from? Health, education, defence?'' Mr Sheikh asked.

''Abbott cannot continue to treat Canberra like a political football. These are real people, real jobs, and Abbott's cuts will have a severe impact on not only those who lose their jobs but also small businesses and Canberra's economy.''

Mr Sheikh said Greens leader Christine Milne had written to Mr Abbott demanding to know which departmental positions would be moved to Gosford and the Northern Territory.

Labor MP for Fraser Andrew Leigh said Mr Abbott's move showed ''deep disrespect'' for the capital. ''Mr Abbott is again showing deep disrespect for Canberra,'' Dr Leigh said.

''I'm sure that every public servant working in an agency with about 300 people is going to go to bed tonight worried that they'll be one of those faced with the choice of relocate or lose your job.

''It's not good public policy and it's terrible people management.''

74 comments

  • I support the move to place agencies and parts of gov't depts into regional areas. Recently the NSW gov't moved Cronulla fisheries to central coast, so i suppose the logical choice would be to move the Australian Fisheries Managment Authority there as well. There is a plethora of small agencies which could be moved to regional areas, with computer networks it doesn't matter where they are. It would be the best thing for regional regional areas and will also decongest Canberra's woeful infrastructure. When public servants realise they can live in an area with free or low cost parking, no traffic jams, cheap housing, quicker access to Hospital Emergency depts, a police force which will actually turn up and force noisy neighbours to shut up, then they will vote with there feet and fishing rod.

    Commenter
    stoney
    Date and time
    August 28, 2013, 8:10AM
    • Canberra is hardly congested. Your post is full of exaggerations.

      Sydney is congested, not Canberra.

      Commenter
      jg
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      August 28, 2013, 8:47AM
    • I hope its my Department, The central coast is cheaper and warmer than this joint.

      Commenter
      Rob
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      August 28, 2013, 9:29AM
    • @stoney I trust that you will be putting your hand up to move

      Commenter
      Big Bird
      Location
      Wollongong
      Date and time
      August 28, 2013, 10:31AM
    • Hmmm - Canberra (cold, crappy and expensive) or Gosford (warm, crappy and cheap). I hope its me deaprtment too!!

      Commenter
      froggy
      Date and time
      August 28, 2013, 11:05AM
    • I really have no idea why you guys are so anxious. Everything is going to be OK. Tony said so and you can trust him. OK?

      So quit worrying and just get back to the soaps and the footy for God's sake.

      Commenter
      Clive
      Location
      Manly West
      Date and time
      August 28, 2013, 11:09AM
    • NSW Fisheries was shunted to Pt Stephens. this is on the Lower North Coast not the Central Coast. There is a good 2 hours travel from Gosford to Nelson Bay etc

      Commenter
      David D
      Location
      Ettalong Beach
      Date and time
      August 28, 2013, 12:21PM
    • Canberra congested..... pull the other one. Ever been to Gosford?

      Commenter
      Deutsch
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      August 28, 2013, 12:29PM
    • @Rob: there would be *reasons* why the Central Coast is cheaper!

      Commenter
      Robert
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      August 28, 2013, 12:44PM
    • Will there be an agency left?

      With Abbott's plans for the NBN - forget relying on decent broadband for the residents...

      Commenter
      n720ute
      Location
      North Coast NSW
      Date and time
      August 28, 2013, 4:47PM

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