Ministers’ argument on Cronulla Fisheries falls apart
The Department of Primary Industries Director General has confirmed that there was no analysis of costs or benefits completed prior to the decision to relocate the Cronulla Fisheries facility and that the costs will be determined 'later'. Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Steve Whan says the revelations provided in evidence to the Upper House Inquiry into the Cronulla decision showed once again that the process is a farce.
The Director General and department officials have also confirmed that the site constraints for the Cronulla site are not an issue – contradicting the Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson.
"I am beginning to think that the Minister just pointed at a facility in Sydney and said I need something to relocate make it that one," said Steve Whan, Shadow Minister for Primary Industries.
"We now know this decision is solely about being seen to meet the Governments decentralisation policy, making the Ministers credibility on this issue even weaker.
"The DG was not able to identify any cost estimates to the decision, and costs associated with jobs and corporate knowledge loss through the transfer of systems because 'not all the workers had made their decision to move'.
"I would have thought that the Department would have at least done some estimates to determine what these losses would be and what the impact on the local community, compliance and research performance indicators.
"DPI can't just fob off questions about a cost benefit analysis and state that it is in the interest of regional communities to have the facility relocated.
"Not all regional NSW has the same need. And this "decentralisation" doesn’t tick any boxes for a good decentralisation. Areas with low population growth need more people, high growth coastal areas like Port Stephens and Coffs Harbour need jobs not increased population.
"The Minister should just 'pull up stumps', I don’t think it is worth fighting this bungled decentralisation any more, the Government should keep the facility and workers where they are."
Tags: Barry O'Farrell, budget, Cronulla, environment, Industrial relations, jobs, research, Steve Whan