600 public servants relocated to central coast

In a stinging "slap in the face for Canberra", a massive 600 Commonwealth public service jobs will be relocated to the NSW central coast, half of them from the embattled Australian Taxation Office

In a move undermining the territory as the home of the nation's bureaucrats, the federal government will open a new building at Gosford to boost jobs in a region dominated by Liberal MPs.

This is despite the fact the nation's capital could be hit with 6500 or more job cuts in three years as the bureaucracy loses 16,500 nationally.

Accounting, information technology, professional services and legal roles could be some of the job descriptions to relocate. 

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A spokesman from Treasurer Joe Hockey's office said the number of jobs to go from Canberra "has not been determined yet", but others expect Canberrans to make up the vast majority.

Canberra MP Gai Brodtmann said the decision was a slap in the face for Canberra that abandoned Sir Robert Menzies' vision for the territory.

"Today, we learn that it is also moving hundreds of public service jobs out of Canberra,” Ms Brodtmann said.

"Menzies said we must 'build up Canberra as a capital in the eyes and minds of the Australian people’.

"It was he who moved public servants from Melbourne and Sydney to Canberra.

''What the Abbott government has done to Canberra in the last 24 hours is a betrayal of Menzies' vision and a betrayal of his profound understanding that public servants make an invaluable contribution to the economy and society.

''Moving public service jobs out of Canberra at this time proves the Abbott government has nothing but contempt for Canberra, and contempt for the public service.''

It was not known which other departments would need to relocate staff to the central coast.  

ACT senator Zed Seselja said the decision by his party would still allow all workers to choose if they wanted to relocate.

''Whilst I will always fight to keep jobs in Canberra, I have been assured that it will not be a substantial number that come from Canberra," Mr Seselja said.

''It is important that we keep the heart of the public service in Canberra, as our city is experienced and skilled in the area of public administration and serves the government with expertise.''

The government has downplayed the impact of job cuts in Canberra, which has a population of 380,000.

Announcements of 2900 lost jobs at Holden, 2500 at Toyota and 980 at Alcoa caused hearty debate within government and opposition ranks, and Canberra faces this number of losses combined.  

Emergency meetings were called for Geelong this year after more than 2000 job losses were announced across Alcoa, Ford, Qantas, Boral and Target for a city with 180,000-plus people.

A spokesman said the Tax Office would take the lead in the relocation project, which would take several years to complete. 

Robertson MP Lucy Wicks said her electorate would host the new building in Gosford, adding "we want this to happen as soon as possible". 

"These 600 jobs will drive even more activity to local cafes, local restaurants and local businesses," Ms Wicks said. 

Tony Abbott first flagged his intention to relocate public service jobs while campaigning to become prime minister in August last year. 

His comments sparked fears across the public service about which departments or agencies would be targeted to help boost regional economies.