Push for more APS staff in regional Tasmania

By Jackson Graham

Wednesday December 22, 2021

Launceston-pier
Launceston, in Tasmania’s north. (lkonya/Adobe)

The public sector union is revisiting a push to decentralise federal jobs and services away from big cities and into regional Tasmania. 

The CPSU says despite the government talking about plans to decentralise parts of departments and agencies, it believes the number of public service jobs in regional Australia declined nearly 8% in the past eight years. 

In an interview with The Mandarin last week, public service minister Ben Morton acknowledged flexible working had opened opportunities for decentralising public employment, potentially allowing teams to work from locations outside capital cities. 

The union’s Hobart-headquartered branch’s regional secretary Zac Batchelor argues that real estate prices and a low proportion of government jobs would make regional Tasmania a welcome setting for more APS workers. 

The union argues rising labour-hire costs could be reduced with a bigger permanent Tasmanian workforce. 

“The case for an investment in APS jobs in northern Tasmania has never been clearer. People living in Northern Tasmania are crying out for career opportunities and secure work,” the branch says in a statement. 

Braddon and Bass, Liberal-held electorates in Tasmania’s north and north-west, make up more than a third of the state’s population but according to the union only a small portion of Tasmania’s APS employees work there. 

“Commercial real estate costs, particularly in the Northwest of Tasmania, are some of the lowest in the country and would provide a significant cost-saving to government,” the CPSU branch points out. 

The union is not the first to push for decentralisation into regional Tasmania in recent years, with Tasmania senator Jonathon Duniam lobbying for relocation of non-policy related jobs in 2017. 

Recent successful decentralisation moves elsewhere have included government corporation AgriFutures Australia moving to Wagga Wagga in 2016 and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority moving to Armidale in 2017.

New National Disability Insurance Agency headquarters opened in Geelong in 2019, and CSIRO launched its Boorowa Agricultural Research Station later the same year. 

The government successfully decentralised parts of the Regional Investment Corporation in 2018 to Orange in NSW, where it also opened a branch of the Department of Infrastructure last year.  


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