Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 May 2017) . . Page.. 1590 ..
especially where face-to-face interactions with Dublin-based ministers were required. There was a detrimental effect when a function was geographically dispersed over a number of locations.
The report cites cases where principal officers and assistant secretaries were having to work out of two locations, typically the headquarters in Dublin and a new decentralised location. Staff could end up spending between 20 and 50 per cent of their time in one or other premises. The resulting travel and subsistence costs, along with the time burden, were very substantial. There were also significant other additional costs from decentralisation in Ireland.
You can imagine what the extra challenges will be if this policy is pursued in our wide brown land. In fact, since the Liberals have opened up the possibility of relocation of public service departments and agencies, there have been proposals put forward to move Indigenous affairs in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to Alice Springs, which would be a great way to disconnect the important function of this government agency from government policy development in Canberra with the entire public service. It would also be a further blow to Woden town centre as many public servants in Indigenous affairs in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet are based at 16 Bowes Place and in the virtually empty Lovett Tower—and there are a 190 people in Indigenous Affairs based in the ACT.
I am glad to hear that the opposition supports this motion today. I did say in my last speech in relation to Ms Orr’s previous motion on the APVMA that we all need to continue to advocate to make sure that our federal colleagues understand the importance of Canberra and its role in supporting the public service. Our government will continue to stand up and advocate against this relocation policy which the federal Liberal Party is pursuing in government. It will have a devastating impact here in the ACT if it continues, particularly in Woden town centre in my electorate.
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (4.30), in reply: I thank all the members from all sides of this chamber who have spoken in such strong support of this important motion today. While the Chief Minister is right in that we do not know and we may not know for some time how many departments and how many public servants will leave the ACT, the sad truth is that the threat of decentralisation, or this thought bubble, is already causing uncertainty in Canberra, casting doubt on investment decisions and causing public servants to enter limbo as they wonder what the future holds for them and their families and what lives they might have to uproot for the sake of a job.
If decentralisation goes ahead, our economy will suffer across the board. Our hospitality and retail sectors will suffer reduced patronage. Our university sector will suffer as the rich source of senior public servants who contribute to academic dialogue and speciality course offerings in public administration are forced out of our city. Our construction industry will feel the blow of a reduced population. As my colleagues right around the chamber and I have pointed out today, there is no reason for this drastic move.
This is not about creating jobs; the federal government needs to come off it. This is about moving jobs. If the federal government is serious about creating jobs, as