National’s hypocrisy on decentralisation of Commonwealth agencies and services

Another week and yet another demonstration of the Liberal National Government’s hypocrisy on their decentralisation plans for corporate Commonwealth entities.

Senator Bridget McKenzie’s performance at the Finance and Public Administration References Committee Senate inquiry and attempts by her National party colleagues to distract from scrutiny over the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (AVPMA) scandal is disappointing and should be called out for what it is - hypocrisy.

Barnaby Joyce has taken pork-barrelling to new levels, enacting new regulations which restrict corporate Commonwealth entities from operating within 150km of Australia’s national or state capital cities and within 10 km of a regional university main campus in order to fulfil his pork barrel of relocating the APVMA to his own electorate of Armidale.

Senator McKenzie’s attempts this week to suggest Victorian regional councils like City of Greater Bendigo are being ignored by the Senate inquiry is just political spin and hypocrisy.

Despite many regional councils making submissions only four qualify under the policy order which currently only applies to the APVMA. The four regions are Armidale, Bathurst, Rockhampton and Townsville, all of which are in NSW and Queensland. No regional areas in Victoria qualify.

The regulation means that Bendigo and central Victoria are not deemed as ‘regional’ communities, and therefore not eligible locations under the Liberal National Government.

Bendigo is the regional commercial centre for central and northern Victoria. To say that it is not a regional community is ridiculous. 

This is just pure hypocrisy from the Nationals who did nothing to stop the Liberal-National Government closing the Australian Emergency Management Institute in Mount Macedon last year and moved its operations back to Canberra.

The Liberal Government has continually slashed public sector jobs in Bendigo and Central Victoria.

Since the Liberal National Government came into power in 2013, we have seen job cuts at the Bendigo Australia Post and Centrelink and forced closures of the AEMI and the ATO.

These job cuts have had a huge impact on the central Victorian economy.