18 September 2007

Chief Minister's Office undermining Gungahlin jobs

| Gungahlin Al
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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 (www.gcc.asn.au) – I won’t be the only one interested in how he explains this…

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Gungahlin Al11:29 am 21 Sep 07

Sorry to burst your bubble Kramer, but ACTPLA are putting together designs for Flemington Road that they have told me preserves a potential light rail or PT corridor up the middle all the way to the Gungahlin town centre, and to connect into the already preserved corridor between the trees down Northbourne.

They will be presenting these plans at our 14 November meeting – see http://www.gcc.asn.au

Even if by some strange twist of fate, in a parallel universe Canberra implemented a light rail network, as if it would service Gungahlin. That’s just too much of a stretch of imagination.

Gungahlin is the chosen place for the terminally ill members of the community (I have seen a secret report that many of you may not have). I don’t know how that makes sense, but it does.

Now wasn’t that a “shot from the hip”.

@ jr
but not to the airport right?

Try “Why is Gunghalin any different from Tidbinbilla?” and you’ve got a more apt comparison.

Come off it. It’s not just good for Gungahlin-dwellers; it’s more convenient than Woden for most of Belconnen, too, and better than Civic for half of it.

If anyone wants to make it a story of the day thats fine, I just hate the inbox spam and have no idea how to disable it.

Re: Airport traffic, see link: HERE.

Jonathon Reynolds1:13 am 19 Sep 07

now if we had a decent light rail network… 😛

Every day, I see massive gridlock caused by heavy traffic going north and south. This is at the Moreshead Drive/Majura Road mess. In both directions, it’s at a standstill. If all those people weren’t criss-crossing the city every day, it would be A Good Thing. I think it’s good that there’s a few departments in Tuggeranong, and can’t see the disaster if there was one or more in Gungahlin. People on the northside (Belc, watson area, and of course Gunghalin) could be headed north, against the traffic heading towards Civic and Belconnen and that lot who go up Majura Road.

I’ve wondered, as I watch all those poor buggers at a standstill heading for the airport, why on earth they put up with it and work there. Interesting to hear that some have made the decision not to work there, for that reason. Being slugged for parking in what is effectively a developed paddock can’t feel good, either.

gungahlin Al, you’ll be out at Brindabella soon enough, don’t stress.

Agree with Ralph, there are no compelling arguments why any government department should be forced to move to Gungahlin.

Kramer’s right too. A lot of people want to work in Civic because it’s centrally located with all the amenities (apart from lack of car parking which the ACT Govt will need to do something about PDQ). It’s also closer to Parliament House and other major departments. And with the large number of PS jobs going begging across a whole range of departments and a whole lot of critical areas (IT, HR, finance, public affairs), departments would have to be nervous about relocating to far away destinations their employees really don’t want to go to.

I remember years ago working for a department in Civic which wanted to relocate some staff to Tuggeranong. The staff nearly rioted. And the move never happened.

Many govt agencies also like to have a presence in Civic so they can easily meet with ministers (or more likely their myrmidons) and other govt big wigs. If the employees think twice about commuting to Gungahlin, how can you expect your minister to think about visiting?

Woody Mann-Caruso8:33 pm 18 Sep 07

Why is Gungahlin any different than Tuggeranong?

Try “Why is Gunghalin any different from Tidbinbilla?” and you’ve got a more apt comparison.

Only DICA IT is moving to Gungahlin.

And the TC is crap in Gungahlin, what with its narrow, canyon roads. At least Belconnen has wide boulevards that makes it livable. So which DEP Sec would want to move several thousand people to Gungahlin?

Give us a break here. Those Gungahlinites seem to think they are Canberra’s poorer cousins. The place was established as a dormitory for the rest of Canberra and that is what it will remain. Its got its road (well almost) it so desperately “needed” so the locals could go to work elsewhere, now they want to have work to come to them. What next, a public holiday for G Day?

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.

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.

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_berlina3:50 pm 18 Sep 07

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

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.

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

Nice sentiments indeed, chap.

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 Al2:36 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-Caruso1:20 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.

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”.

If my job moved to Gungahlin I would quit.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt12:26 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.

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.

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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