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Chief Minister’s Office undermining Gungahlin jobs

By Gungahlin Al - 18 September 2007 30

CT has a lead story today on $2B worth of development happening in Canberra.

The article talks about DEST not having signed off on buying the $40M old QE2 hospital site in Civic, and the CMO’s “are concerned that federal Labor could abandon the site altogether and move the project to Gungahlin to fulfil a promise to Labor MP Bob McMullan for a large department in his electorate.”

And what exactly is wrong with that?

Ever since I’ve been with GCC, various ACT Labor Ministers have been telling us that there is nothing they can do to get Federal departments to relocate to Gungahlin. They have expressed support, and acknowledged that jobs are desperately needed in Gungahlin to reduce the need for everyone to commute out, and the resulting heavy financial demands placed on the ACT Government to fund road upgrades.

Yet here we have a major department that is not locked into moving into the City or elsewhere, and the CMO is actively trying to prevent it moving to Gungahlin???

Do they seriously think that the difference in price they’ll get for the land in Civic over land in Gungahlin will offset the extra road and public transport costs that would result?

I find the hypocrisy and short-sightedness of this strategy by Stanhope’s staff appalling. Stanhope himself is due to attend the GCC meeting on 10 October ( – I won’t be the only one interested in how he explains this…

What’s Your opinion?

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30 Responses to
Chief Minister’s Office undermining Gungahlin jobs
sepi 6:23 pm 18 Sep 07

I know several Gungahlin people that are hanging out for Immigration to move to Gungahlin, and will be taking any job they can there, ASAP.

Skidbladnir 5:00 pm 18 Sep 07

FacSIA is in Tuggeranong -and- Woden, thesedays.

Multi-campus Departments seem to be the trnd of Canberra, even the police, Defence, and our spooks are doing it.

flyingblind 4:21 pm 18 Sep 07

I left my last employer after they moved to the airport, at least i tried it! but dealing with the crap roads and congestion day after day there left (pun intended) a lot to be desired.

This is Canberra not Sydney, i do not want to sit in traffic snarls for the best part of 2 hours a day!

Snahons_scv6_berlina 3:50 pm 18 Sep 07

Seems appropriate that Centrelink and FACS are in Tuggeranong to me 🙂

Heavs 3:29 pm 18 Sep 07

Why is Gungahlin any different than Tuggeranong? They are both ‘the end of the line’. Why should Tuggeranong be blessed with Centrelink and FACS and whatever else is out there. It seems entirely reasonable that government departments should move out to Gungahlin – especially if the price is right.

Ralph 3:19 pm 18 Sep 07

I see Woody is still acting as a true man of the people.

Nice sentiments indeed, chap.

AG Canberra 3:06 pm 18 Sep 07

Ah the triple bottom line – an entirely foreign concept for most Department Heads. I think you’ll fing that the single bottom line (cost) is the majority consideration and then the next one is the building code of Aus. Anything extra seems to fall by the wayside. You’d like to think that the Gov could lead with some cutting edge practises for building efficiency etc but it all comes down to cost.

When it comes to location the problem with Civic is that it’s in the middle of Canberra – making it relatively attractive to all prospective employees when it comes to travel time. (but not when it comes to parking!)

Gungahlin Al 2:36 pm 18 Sep 07

I would think that a big decision point for the departments would be overall cost. $40M for prime Civic land would have to be *at least* double the cost of land in Gungahlin.

VY: if mine moved to Tuggers I’d quit too. But conversely, if DEST moved to Gungahlin, guess what department I’d be looking for a job in???

I’m in a department where bit by bit it is being shifted to the airport. Many people don’t like that and go elsewhere. Hasn’t stopped the department moving…

But for any department having trouble encouraging new staff into say IT vacancies, then it would make perfect sense to consider Gungahlin because that’s where the new land is – it offers the whole package.

But ultimately it gets back to whether you support the original satellite city concept behind Canberra, or are happy to see it go the way of every other city in this country – centralised and congested.

Woody Mann-Caruso 1:20 pm 18 Sep 07

If you want to live in Bumblefuck, South Goulburn then that’s up to you. Don’t expect the Feds to compensate for your silly choices, though.

CharlieBell 1:01 pm 18 Sep 07

Governments (and government departments) have a responsibility to make good decisions. Good decisions are not only based on economic values, but need to take into account social and environmental values – the triple bottom line.

It would be great if our ACT government gave some consideration to creating jobs in outer suburbs to get some balance between economic, social and environmental values. Put the jobs near where people live. This and past ACT governments have failed dismally to consider anything other than economic values – they always give in to the developers.

If your job moves, you have a choice. Move with it or find another job. Perhaps we could call it “workchoices”.

tickboom 12:37 pm 18 Sep 07

If my job moved to Gungahlin I would quit.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with 12:26 pm 18 Sep 07

Surely departments should locate to areas that are convenient for them. I very much doubt there’s noone working for DEST who lives south of Woden – how convenient will that be for these people? Nowadays people change jobs often enough that the concept of living and working in the same ‘satellite’ area is invalid for many people.

GuruJ 12:23 pm 18 Sep 07

Also, it’s a common misunderstanding, but the Chief Minister’s Department does not mean the political staff working for the Chief Minister.

It’s a public service department in the same way as the Department of Education, and equivalent to the Federal Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Just reading through the article, there’s no indication that Stanhope has implicitly or explicitly approved of this statement by the department. It will be interesting to hear what he says about it.

Mr Evil 12:11 pm 18 Sep 07


Ralph 12:06 pm 18 Sep 07

Sorry, there are no compelling arguments as to why any government department should have its hand forced into moving to Gungahlin.

Where departments locate themselves is a commercial decision, and should be determined by markets.

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