Victoria to decentralise 750 public service jobs

By David Donaldson

Tuesday May 2, 2017

As the federal government plans to move more Commonwealth jobs out of Canberra, Victoria is jumping on board with decentralisation.

Regional cities will play host to 750 more public service jobs under a relocation plan unveiled in the Victorian Budget.

The government has not publicly announced which functions or agencies are to be relocated from Melbourne. Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford said these details would be made public in about a week, after those affected are informed.

But it is planning to work with unions in the lead up to the move and has said it will not force relocations or redundancies. It will include a mix of existing and new roles, a government spokesperson told The Mandarin.

Two new ‘GovHub’ sites will be built in Ballarat and the Latrobe Valley over the next few years, with a third planned for Bendigo at a later stage. A GovHub is a campus with several co-located public agencies, and may include some private firms too.

The Ballarat office, to be located at the redeveloped Civic Hall, will take the bulk of the jobs, eventually becoming home to 600 bureaucrats. The 2017-18 Budget commits $47.8 million for the Ballarat hub.

One hundred and fifty public servants will eventually be based at the Latrobe hub, expected to be completed in mid-2020.

“We said we’d govern for the whole state and that means government offices and employees shouldn’t just be confined to the Melbourne CBD,” said Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford.

Business case development will be undertaken for a proposal to consolidate VPS and local council functions into a new customer service centre and public administration complex in the Bendigo CBD.

Bendigo is already home to public servants from the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (including, one day per week, the departmental secretary).

Slow movement at Service Victoria

After touting its investment in the establishment of Service Victoria, the state’s answer to New South Wales’ government ‘one-stop shop’ agency, the 2017/18 Budget is quiet on the fate of the body.

Things appear to be going slow on its creation. The actual spend this year on the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s “government-wide leadership, reform and implementation” budget line came in under budget with “deferral of activities” and carry over of Service Victoria funding being the reason.

A spokesperson told The Mandarin the government was working hard to make sure it gets Service Victoria right and would be providing an update on its progress soon.

Service Victoria held a closed tender for its underlying technology system over the last year and has been occupying offices at Footscray, awaiting a major gearing up.

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