Tasmania wants Canberra's public service jobs

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Michael Bailey
Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Michael Bailey

Labor has branded a Tasmanian Liberal Party campaign to bring more Commonwealth jobs to the state an insult to those Tasmanians who lost their jobs under the two terms of government.

The Liberals on Friday announced it would form a Tasmanian working group which would work with business groups and councils to bid for more federal public service jobs within the state.

This is part of the government's plan to decentralise its bureaucracy from Canberra, Sydney, and Melbourne.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein said this would ensure the state could present the federal government with a competitive package to get a share of relocated jobs or agencies.

He said the state could make a strong case for jobs in the area of regional development and tax office positions.

"But we want to engage with a range of agencies and encourage the federal government to ensure that Tasmania gets its fair share," Mr Gutwein said.

Using statistics from previous Australian Public Service Commission State of the Service reports, Bass Labor MHR Ross Hart said 811 federal public servants in Tasmania lost their jobs between 2013 and 2017.

This included more than 400 jobs going last year.

“These job losses are across every level of skill and across multiple departments and government agencies,” he said.

Nevertheless, Mr Hart said the Liberals plan to centralise bureaucrats was a good idea –  and one Labor had posited in October – provided it was there was thorough consultation and appropriate funding for relocations.

He said the state Liberals plan was vague and he looked forward to seeing more detail to build a strong economic case.

Lyons Labor MHR Brian Mitchell said another 100 state jobs were at-risk if the federal government privatised visa processing services.

“There are 100 families in Hobart who are dealing with the stress of uncertainty while these jobs are on the chopping block,” he said.

“Let’s talk first about keeping jobs here before we boast about phantom jobs.”

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry this week appeared at a parliamentary inquiry into the development of Australian cities.

TCCI chief executive Michael Bailey told the committee the government should support the movement of public service to regions from cities overburdened by its population.

He said relocations could both be physical and virtual, such as having government call centre employees working from their homes.