COALITION ALL TALK AND NO WALK ON DECENTRALISATION

This week’s Cabinet reshuffle saw the Coalition name its first Decentralisation Minister.

While the position is a new one, there is nothing new about the Morrison Government’s plans for decentralisation.

When former Minister Fiona Nash first announced this policy more than a year ago, she created high expectations in regional Australia.

Since then there has been little to show for all the big talk.

So far, not even 100 jobs have been earmarked for relocation under this policy.

All up, that’s just 0.0005% of APS jobs – barely a ripple and a long way from the tidal wave signalled by successive government ministers.

Even worse, only 16 of the 98 jobs earmarked for decentralisation will go to a non-capital city and over 80 per cent of jobs will move from one capital city to another including:

• 40 jobs to relocate from Canberra to Adelaide
• 25 jobs to relocate the 20 kms from Sydney to Parramatta
• 10 jobs to relocate from Canberra to Darwin

Labor has always been sceptical about the Coalition’s decentralisation policy which has not been matched with a commitment to maintain existing public sector jobs in the regions.

That scepticism remains this week despite the announcement of a decentralisation minister, that came on the same day the Regional Health and Regional Communications portfolios were scrapped.