Capricornia Chamber of Commerce president Peter Fraser welcomes the Federal Government's challenge to decentralise its entities to rural Australia.
Capricornia Chamber of Commerce president Peter Fraser welcomes the Federal Government's challenge to decentralise its entities to rural Australia. Madeline McDonald ROK

Chamber of Commerce throw full weight behind jobs bid

LEAVE 'dreary' Canberra and come to Central Queensland.

Capricornia Chamber of Commerce president Peter Fraser says there's 100 different reasons why Federal Government departments should move to the region as the Senate launch an inquiry into decentralising Commonwealth entities.

Mr Fraser joined Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and local government bodies in welcoming the opportunity to bring high-paid, skilled jobs to the region, but he anticipates unskilled and construction labour would also be required.

"It's a prize worth having,” the Westpac bank manager said.

"Logically, we have seen it in big business and from the banking industry. I've seen major call centres of Westpac and Commonwealth Bank located regionally, and the other banks as well.

"So this is not new that you can establish departments or call centres in a regional locations where you're going to get a benefit from the lower rental costs, certainly there's no doubt there's always a quality of living aspect to moves as well.

"You don't need to sit your head office departments in dreary locations like Canberra, you can come to the beautiful Capricorn area and have a much better quality of life I am sure than shivering through zero-degree nights in winter.

"From a local perspective there's huge advantages as well, we get an injection of people into the region and certainly that's more money for our local economy and potentially creates jobs for our locals.”

Earlier this month Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the inquiry would investigate the operation, effectiveness and consequences of relocating corporate Commonwealth entities.

Mr Fraser said the Chamber of Commerce would "throw their weight” behind a local bid, and urged other bodies work with council and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry.

"It's a good opportunity if available, we just have to go hard for the prize,” he said.

Should the inquiry rule in favour of decentralisation, Mr Fraser speculates we won't see any movement for two to three years.

"Any particular location is going to have to be scoped out in terms of does it tick certain boxes, in terms of is there affordable housing here? Are their IT requirements met?

If it's a department of 300 to 400 people what about parking? What about other issues? Do we have to construct something to accommodate?

Of our selling points, Mr Fraser followed Ms Landry's train of thought that agriculture would ideally be situated in Central Queensland.

He also suggested a wild card in the Department of Human Services.

"That would probably be in the thousands of people, I can't see that happening but we would be happy to take them on up here,” he said.



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