Premier Colin Barnett this week reaffirmed the Liberals’ commitment to move a government department to Bunbury but said moving hundreds of employees would not happen overnight.
The Premier did not commit to when the move would happen, where the office would be located or which department would be chosen, but said the Government would release its plans for Bunbury in the coming months.
Mr Barnett said the Government plans in the pipeline would help Bunbury create a “genuine identity” and achieve “genuine growth”.
The Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and Industries has called on the State Government to relocate a government department to Bunbury to help secure the city’s future.
The Chamber is pressuring the State Government to commit to relocate a department of about 250 employees and their families to Bunbury from Perth.
Chamber chief executive Ray Philp said relocation of a department had been done before when the Victorian Government moved a significant number of its Traffic Accident Commission staff to Geelong.
“We understand the difficulty in relocating a full department but when a political decision is made everyone works towards it,” Mr Philp said.
Mr Barnett said shifting a department was not the most effective way to grow the Government’s presence in Bunbury.
“It doesn’t tend to work if you try to relocate a department in one hit because you lose two thirds of the staff who have kids in school and own their houses,’’ Mr Barnett said.
The Premier said Bunbury “should be and will be’’ WA’s “second city” and administration centre.
The Opposition has committed to relocating the Department of Regional Development and Lands to Bunbury if Labor is successful at the next election.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said any metropolitan staff vacating their positions because of the relocation of the department would present job opportunities for South West residents.
“The truth of the matter is the Department of Regional Development and Lands should not be in the CBD but a regional centre,” he said.Mr McGowan said he recognised the difficulties of relocating hundreds of employees but it was not unusual to have high staff turnover in government agencies.
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.