Regional Location of Services

Regional Location of Services

Policy Position (Endorsed February 2017)

AgForce provides in-principle support for relocation of government services to regional areas where practical.

Issue
Regional communities form a vital support network for Queensland agriculture and our members have a strong interest in their growth and prosperity. There can be significant economic and community benefits from public investment in regional Australia, including direct employment, a greater capacity to innovate and adapt to change, and increased provision of services. Relocation of Government agencies and services to regional locations should be undertaken on a case by case basis, considering evidence of the potential benefits and costs, including that the delivery and quality of services is not compromised.

Background
Government agencies and service delivery are often centrally located in Canberra or state capital cities. Promoting regional development and decentralisation are policy initiatives in which AgForce sees great potential benefit for regional and rural Queensland. These include providing direct and indirect employment and through the multiplier effect in the local economy of increased expenditure and population. Increasing the presence of highly skilled workers in a community enhances its capacity to innovate, adopt new technologies and adapt to changing circumstances.

AgForce considers that regional and remote communities are no less deserving of suitable infrastructure and social services than urban communities. Locating Government agencies in regional areas can assist in focussing wider Government attention on the infrastructure, social services and other challenges facing these communities and create a greater drive to address them. An influx of worker's families also assists in securing health and education services and adds to the vibrancy of a community.
Regional communities can offer a range of benefits not available in urban areas, including affordable housing, greater access to natural environments, less traffic congestion, a strong sense of belonging and community spirit, and an easier pace of life.
However, there are challenges in relocating government agencies or function to regional areas that need to be considered and managed effectively so that the delivery and quality of services is not compromised.

It is more likely there will be clear benefits and fewer drawbacks where the functions being redeployed are primarily producer or community facing, rather than those functions which rely on close engagement with decision-makers, scientists and regulating government agencies. Managing the needs and expectations of existing staff within agencies identified as suitable for relocation is also required to ensure that there is no loss of service delivery arising through the process.

AgForce supports well-considered, sensible initiatives that strengthen our rural and regional communities and improve the standard of living for all Australians regardless of location.

Other relevant information

Relevant AgForce submissions on regional development and decentralisation can be seen below by signing into the Members Only section in the top right hand corner of the screen.

Regional Location of Services

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