Move 'em North: Katter's public servant plan

Job boosting plan for North Queensland

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KAP Leader Robbie Katter wants public service jobs moved north. Photo: Scott Radford-Chisholm.

KAP Leader Robbie Katter wants public service jobs moved north. Photo: Scott Radford-Chisholm.

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Shifting state government departments to North Queensland is being touted as a sure fire way to create jobs in the region.

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SHIFTING state government departments to North Queensland is being touted as a sure fire way to create jobs in the region.

Katter's Australian Party leader Robbie Katter said about 3,800 public service jobs would be relocate under his ambitious government de-centralisation scheme.

Mr Katter said it was a modest solution to counter the "Brisbane-isation" of the state's workforce.

Queensland public service workforce statistics from 2019, show more than 53 per cent of state's government jobs are based in the south-east corner, including Brisbane, Toowoomba and the Gold and Sunshine coasts.

Of them, 45,864 or almost 20 per cent of the full-time equivalent jobs are located in the Brisbane CBD area, representing the huge number of desk jobs - as opposed to frontline workers needed to service the large critical mass of people in the area - that could be located to the regions.

Mr Katter said he was pushing for the Department of Environment and Science, and its 2,946 full-time equivalent jobs, to be officially relocated to Townsville.

He said water authority SunWater, and its 512 jobs, should be based in Mackay, while the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and its 293 jobs, would move to Cairns.

Mr Katter said regional Queensland had lost countless non-frontline public service jobs in recent years, either through attrition or deliberate departmental office shutdowns.

"There was a time, not all that long ago, when public servants lived in the communities affected by the decisions they made rather than hiding themselves away in ivory towers in Brisbane," Mr Katter said.

"We used to have a Mines Department office in the Mount Isa - it's been gone for years.

"You'd probably find a similar story in every reasonably-sized small town in the North and out west; it's important to acknowledge that what we are calling for has been happening gradually in the reverse for many years."

Mr Katter said it was time the North clawed back some control over the future of the state while reaping the benefits of boosted employment opportunities.

"There is no good reason all state government departments should be headquartered on George Street," he said.

"Public servants need to be out in the real world, and to be part of the communities whose lives their decisions affect.

"Untold problems are caused when government decision-making gets lumped on some bureaucrat located thousands of kilometres away, and this is one logical way to address that."

Mr Katter said the relocation of about 3,800 stable, professional jobs would be a boon for North Queensland's struggling economy, and would have wide-ranging, positive flow-on effects for all sectors including housing, retail and tourism.

He said regional Queensland had suffered enormously because of the centralisation of public servants and all the key decision makers in Brisbane

He called on both Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and LNP Leader Deb Frecklington to commit to the de-centralisation plan ahead of the state election.

"They need to prove they will not continue the pattern of being the 'Premier for Brisbane' rather than being the premier for all of us."

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