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Councils push for telework centres

Canberra residents looking for cheaper housing or a lifestyle change would be able to work from ''Smart Work Centres'' in commuter towns, under a proposal being floated by regional councils.

About a dozen mayors from municipalities near Canberra are expected to attend a hearing of an ACT Assembly committee into regional development on Thursday.

The committee is looking at ways the ACT government and neighbouring councils can work more closely together, including opportunities to save money through joint procurement processes.

In a submission to the committee, Goulburn Mulwaree Council mayor Geoff Kettle said lower housing prices in his city provided good options for Canberrans struggling to buy first homes.

Mr Kettle also said local councils were looking at options to allow residents who worked in Canberra to telecommute from regional centres.

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''Goulburn Mulwaree Council, in conjunction with Yass Valley Shire Council, are looking to establish a pilot Smart Work Centre to provide an alternative workplace and reduce the need to commute daily from the surrounding regions into the ACT,'' Mr Kettle said in his submission.

'' There is the opportunity to provide similar centres in many of the commuter towns and villages around the ACT.''

Prime Minister Julia Gillard wants 12 per cent of Commonwealth public servants to be ''teleworking'' by 2020.

Mr Kettle said a Smart Work Centre could enable ACT tertiary institutions to remotely deliver education programs to students in the region. Mr Kettle said there was an ''opportunity to improve mass transit connection between the two urban centres''.

''Improving this connection could again strengthen the role Goulburn could play in releasing some of the urban pressures facing Canberra,'' he said.