Member for Groom John McVeigh has been confirmed as the chair of the Federal Government’s new Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation.
He will head a group of 10 members of parliament to examine best practice approaches to develop regional and rural Australia including the effect of decentralisation of government agencies and departments and ways to encourage corporate decentralisation.
The Prime Minister’s House select committee – the only one in this term of Government – follows a previous Senate Committee which confirmed support for decentralisation as part of building stronger regional communities.
Dr McVeigh said he was honoured to be selected by the Prime Minister to head this committee and looked forward to working with other government and non-government members of the committee in the best interests of regional Australia.
“We have plenty of work to do and a key area the Committee will be exploring is how to grow and diversify regional economies and broadening employment opportunities ” Dr McVeigh said.
“I don’t have to look far to see best practice on this issue. Queensland is the most decentralised state in the nation and Toowoomba in particular is one of Australia’s most diverse economies. It’s one of the nation’s economic success stories based on strong advocacy private investment and catalytic infrastructure projects ” he said.
“We will be looking at ways to further enhance the quality of life in regional centres and how to harness the competitive advantages and local resources of our regions.”
“The committee will be examining the extent to which employment and growth can be supported by growing existing and new industries in the digital age … the Data Centre and Technology Park being developed in Toowoomba is a perfect example of private enterprise taking a chance and building the future.”
Dr McVeigh said the Committee would be examining a number of decentralisation models to determine if Australia Government departments should be relocated in full or partially to select regional locations and this will apply equally to corporate entities.
“There are many aspects to decentralisation. We need to give close consideration to the social and community impacts as well as the obvious economic impacts of decentralisation.
“The work of this Committee can shape the vision for the future of regional Australia. I am a passionate supporter of regional Australia. I believe the regions of Australia remain the key to unlocking our future growth and potential as a nation.”
Dr McVeigh said the Committee would produce an issues paper by the end of August and an interim report by the end of the year. A final report will be produced in February 2018.
Above: Member for Groom John McVeigh with Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio in Canberra this week.