Bureaucrats to call Tassie home

THE federal government has taken a step towards buying Canberra bureaucrats one-way tickets to Tasmania.

Recent answers to questions on notice show investigations into relocating public servants to the state is still on the Coalition's agenda.

And the public service minister says ``consideration is under way'' on fulfilling the government's election pledge.

If it goes ahead, it would continue the government's push to boost struggling regional economies at the expense of undermining Canberra as the home of the nation's public servants.

It has already pledged to send 600 bureaucrats, 300 of them from the Australian Taxation Office, to Gosford to boost the economy of the New South Wales central coast.

The government's continued investigations into the Tasmanian job-shift possibility follow a pre-election pledge.

Back then, cuts to Canberra's public service were not expected to be as bad as they have now turned out.

The Coalition's pre-election stance was that it was going to cut 12,000 federal public service jobs _ rather than the 16,500 it has now committed to after finding a 14,500 reduction instituted by Labor. Many of the cuts are expected to occur in Canberra.

Leading up to the election, the Coalition issued its Economic Growth Plan for Tasmania. It outlined the intuitive sense of moving jobs from the nation's capital to the struggling island state.

The plan pledged the Coalition would shift the jobs when there was an ``inherent logic or cost advantage to doing so'' and named the forestry functions of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry as positions that looked like they could be moved.

In an answer to a question on notice, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the government was committed to boosting jobs and strengthening regional communities across Australia.

``One way to do this is to relocate government agencies or parts of agencies outside Canberra,'' Mr Joyce said. 

Tasmania's unemployment rate was 7.5 per cent in May, almost 2 per cent above the national average.

A spokeswoman for the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Eric Abetz, said the government was not in a position to comment on specific proposals with regard to the public service and Tasmania at this time, ``although consideration is under way''.

Community and Public Sector Union state secretary Jessica Munday said the union was unaware of any proposals to bring federal government jobs to Tasmania.

``We are aware that a lot of pre-election campaigning was done around boosting Tasmanian employment but, unfortunately, to date we are yet to see additional public service jobs being created in Tasmania,'' Ms Munday said.

``We would welcome additional public service jobs in Tasmania, but so far we have seen nothing but savage cuts to our public sector workforce.''

A spokesman for the state government said it supported the federal government's proposal and would be having further further discussions about how it can be best achieved.


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