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Southside battles to keep agency

Date

Larissa Nicholson

Residents are protesting the removal of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs from Tuggeranong town centre, pictured.

Residents are protesting the removal of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs from Tuggeranong town centre, pictured. Photo: Colleen Petch

Local business and community groups on Wednesday launched a petition to keep the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs in Tuggeranong.

The department revealed this month it was looking for new space for its national office as part of a plan to consolidate more than 2700 staff into one or two buildings, and would consider remaining in Tuggeranong or moving to Woden.

The Tuggeranong Hyperdome shopping centre, Tuggeranong Community Council and not-for-profit company Communities@Work will be collecting signatures on a petition calling for the federal government to ''locate in Tuggeranong CBD the required 40,000 to 42,000 square metres of space that is needed to house the newly consolidated Commonwealth Government Department of Families, Housing and Indigenous Affairs''.

It asked the government to ''maintain and improve'' existing public service jobs in Tuggeranong.

Federal member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann backed the petition, confirming she had spoken to the secretary about keeping the department in the town centre, and would approach the relevant ministers to discuss the issue.

Ms Brodtmann said she would make the petition available for people to sign on her website and planned to present it in Parliament during the next sitting. ''There's a number of different positions that are attached to the department, and it's very important that you have jobs in various parts of Canberra so you keep each pocket of Canberra alive and keep the economy alive, and it's a particularly important part of Tuggeranong,'' she said.

Lynne Harwood, chief executive of Communities@Work, said it would do great harm to an area already disadvantaged if the department was relocated. ''To take away a workforce of that size from an area, you're also taking away the buying power and the spending power of the area, so it's not just about the immediate jobs, it's about the whole impact that would have,'' she said.

But Woden Valley Community Council deputy chairman Mike Reddy said he would like to see more public service jobs in his area to fill empty office space and support local businesses the town centre.

Hyperdome centre manager Jodie Marques said Tuggeranong was experiencing stagnant population growth and a decline in public service jobs in the town centre could see existing residents leave the area.

She said the Hyperdome had good business from department employees and she expected strong support for the petition when she distributed it within the centre and to other local businesses.

3 comments

  • Any one who works in the area knows that the site where FAHCSIA now sits is ripe for develpment. Lots and lots of towers full of people in units. As for saying harm will come to the area if it moves is just wrong. DHS has a new office next to the Hyperdome which will be finished nearly 3000 staff in the next few months. Gunghalin has no Federal departments located in its Town Centre and it seems to be doing alright. Maybe FAHCSIA could move there.

    Commenter
    Brooke
    Location
    Gordon
    Date and time
    April 18, 2013, 9:03AM
    • Canberra lacks critical mass across all of its townships - Civic/Parliamanetary triangle; Woden; Belconnen; Tuggernong and Gungahlin. Rather than continue to spread the mass too thin, its better that it be consolidated to build and vibrancy in establihed centres. So, concentrate on Civic/PT, Belconnen and Woden. Gungahlin and Tuggernong ought be smaller scale service centres like Weston Creek. Problem is that the planners were so focussed on decentralised satelite cities they missed the critical mass / vibrancy issue; and now businesses / developers have geared up and over capitalised in Tuggers / Gungahlin in anticipation of the people coming, its difficult politically to take them away..so we'll persist with the status quo and have 5 lifeless cities...

      Commenter
      Poor planning
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      April 18, 2013, 10:56AM
      • So as a taxpayer are we to pay a premium for them to stay in Tuggeranong? someone told me their current lease is massively expensive compared to other Government offices. The Department needs to get the best rental deal for us taxpayers (to leave more money for the services they deliver) rather than pander to the Hyperdome. Seems Myer don't like it they are moving to Woden.....

        P.S that is a photo of the new DHS building not FaHCSIA so all their new staff should help the Hyperdome anyway Gai

        Commenter
        Concerned Taxpayer
        Date and time
        April 18, 2013, 9:09PM
        Comments are now closed
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