Rural moves going slow
The Federal Government has conceded that not much is happening with its plans to decentralise the public sector.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was asked about several planned forced relocations of public service departments and agencies to regional areas, at Senate budget estimates hearings on Wednesday night.
He said the only significant details about the National Party-led came from a speech by deputy leader Fiona Nash last month and a press conference by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce the next day.
Senator Cormann said a template business case for relocations is being prepared by the Department of Finance, which will ask government ministers to justify why agencies and workforces in their portfolios should stay in Canberra.
“So far the only decision that has been made is a decision to set up a process for the future selection of decentralisation opportunities, to make sure these decisions are soundly based,” Senator Cormann said.
“We haven't made specific decentralisation decisions on existing agencies. What the government has put forward... is that we would be setting up a process to consider appropriate Commonwealth entities and companies and executive agencies that may be suitable for decentralisation.
“We've made an announcement about obviously a future direction and we've set out the process and the high-level standard criteria that will help guide our decision making.
“When it comes to the relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, that was an election commitment that we took to the last election.
“What we are proposing now is a more structured process for assessment... a more structured ongoing process,” Senator Cormann said.