19 April 2016

Time for the Commonwealth to stop trashing Canberra’s town centres

| Kim Fischer
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As recent articles have reported, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is considering moving its 4000 employees out of Belconnen. Tender documents have revealed the department is looking to lease 80,000 square metres of building space in one precinct.

More recently, the Department of Finance assumed responsibility for this decision as part of a broader accommodation review announced by the Federal Government. Finance has promised to take local interests into account, a line hailed as indicating success in the campaign against the move in the media and by some community groups.

This would be premature.

For a start, neither Finance or Immigration can explain how the concept of a ‘local interest’ can be incorporated into a tender process that assumes a level playing field for respondents. And even if Immigration stays in Belconnen (as it rightly should), it’s only a matter of time before another rogue Departmental Secretary thinks it’s a good idea to try something like this again. Just back in 2013 there were similar rumours of Centrelink employees being moved out of Tuggeranong.

The impact caused by Departments leaving town centres can be devastating. Think about what would happen if Immigration left Belconnen:

  • There would be an estimated $41 million annual loss to businesses in the Belconnen town centre, with further job losses and shop closures inevitable. The new apartment buildings being constructed in the area would become less appealing for buyers.
  • The two most likely locations for a relocated Immigration department are Civic and the airport. Either way, the thousands of employees living northside will have to squeeze through the chokepoints at Civic and/or Russell in morning and afternoon peak hour traffic. More cars on the road means more delays and more stress.
  • Assuming that most employees live near Belconnen, any shift could increase typical commute times by up to an hour per day. Quite aside from the additional transport costs, this move completely ignores any commitments that its employees might have outside work, like school pickups for children. The public service should be a model employer, and to consider acting in this way sends a message that the needs of its employees don’t matter.

The Federal Government is by far the largest employer in the ACT. Precisely because of these large potential impacts, the local governments of most cities with a single major employer remain in constant conversation about employment and investment decisions. Yet the ACT Government remains strangely disengaged about this whole affair, and appears to be just hoping that things work out.

I have been campaigning over the last few months for an improved and permanently agreed process for handling Commonwealth department relocations. Any such process should routinely include conversations with affected staff, the Chief Minister, and the local community.

If the Department of Immigration needs all its workers in the one location, moving 4000 Immigration workers to another location after 40 years in Belconnen isn’t the way to go. It would be far better to move the 1500 Customs workers to Belconnen. As this would have a smaller but noticeable effect on the economy in Civic, a cautious approach is still necessary. This is a good opportunity for the Department of Finance and the ACT Government to trial a more consultative approach.

(Photo: At Belconnen bus interchange gathering signatures to keep Immigration in Belconnen)

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We have had successive Federal Governments whose attitude to the ACT has been quite negative. There has been no sense of pride in the National Capital.
I suspect it began to be manifest with the unceremonious shove into self government, which was not only rejected soundly by ACT residents, but was patently inappropriate for a community set up specifically for the purpose of being the centre of government, without other industry or economic base.
It was an economic decision, to free the Federal Government of its responsibilities here. It had the added bonus of leaving it with little responsibility to even pay its own way – it remained free from paying land rates, payroll tax, GST and all other State Duties & Taxes.
The Federal Government will tell you that the Grants Commission takes care of that. It does not. It payes at the same rate as for other States & Territories. States loose revenue on federal government activities of around 5%. The ACT, however, has about 50% of its economic activity not taxed. You don’t need to be a mathematician to see that doesn’t work.
Because “Canberra” is the word used in the media when they mean “Federal Government”, our city wears all the bad press, both from poor behaviour by individual politicians & poor or unpopular decision making at the political level. This makes it easier for Governments to make massive cuts to Federal Public Service without causing such widespread criticism (as though these people are somehow not normal wage-earning, tax-paying, family-raising members of the Australian population).
That there is no thought given to the wider effects of decisions to move Departments, willy nilly and as the current mood takes them, is surely no surprise at this point. It seems that a favourite sport of the current Federal Government is “Blame the Victim”, so they can cut resources to the ACT and try to convince the rest of Australia to cheer.
The real question, is how can we deal with this situation? What would happen if the agreement between the States & Federal Government to not tax each other, were to be recinded? Then, perhaps the Commonwealth Grants Commission could redistribute tax revenue on a far more equitable basis?
I don’t know the answers, but I am pretty sure the questions need to be asked, and some bigger brains than mine applied to the task.

JC said :

dungfungus said :

Tymefor said :

dungfungus said :

Tymefor said :

rubaiyat said :

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

That is the beauty of the scheme, with nothing to do, or distract the employees, all they have to fall back on is to do their work.

Could prove to be a major cultural shock for most departments.

Hmm you should try pitching this idea to some of the worlds most successfully run offices. I’m sure the people at Google would love to hear about how much better removing culture and providing nothing to do but work to do, is for their efficiency.

When you don’t pay tax you can afford a few fringe benefits.

I assume you are trying to reference how many online businesses do not currently collect the GST for the products and services they provide. The emphasis there should be on collect, as it is the purchaser that actually pays the GST not the business collecting it.

No, I was referring to income tax.Australia is leading the word in cracking down on profit shifting by the large multinationals.
The problem with GST not being charged by some on-line businesses (mainly offshore ones) is that they have to first be registered in Australia to charge/collect it. This is why the Australian government is obliged to levy and collect GST on ALL imports. The current policy not to levy anything above $500 is a cop-out by governments.

It is $1000 actually and as has been pointed out before the reason they don’t collect it is because the cost to do so would far out weigh the money recovered. And of course would mean hiring public servants which we know the current Liebral government sees as bad.

You are correct – it is still $1,000. I tried to find out if it had been reduced to $500 as was suggested by the current government but the issue has been pushed off the headlines by more important nation building events like marriage equality and other trivia.
I don’t agree with you that it will “cost too much” to collect it. It is simply a matter of modifying scanning and other existing procedures. Customers will be able to pre-pay the GST online (like importers) so that delivery is not impeded. It may surprise you to learn that many years ago all incoming parcels of consumer goods were subject to import duty and tariffs. People will soon get hang of it.
Good article here from a left leaning think tank: https://theconversation.com/lowering-the-gst-import-threshold-will-require-careful-political-management-22080
To do nothing is ensuring Australia’s financial problems continue to worsen.

dungfungus said :

Tymefor said :

dungfungus said :

Tymefor said :

rubaiyat said :

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

That is the beauty of the scheme, with nothing to do, or distract the employees, all they have to fall back on is to do their work.

Could prove to be a major cultural shock for most departments.

Hmm you should try pitching this idea to some of the worlds most successfully run offices. I’m sure the people at Google would love to hear about how much better removing culture and providing nothing to do but work to do, is for their efficiency.

When you don’t pay tax you can afford a few fringe benefits.

I assume you are trying to reference how many online businesses do not currently collect the GST for the products and services they provide. The emphasis there should be on collect, as it is the purchaser that actually pays the GST not the business collecting it.

No, I was referring to income tax.Australia is leading the word in cracking down on profit shifting by the large multinationals.
The problem with GST not being charged by some on-line businesses (mainly offshore ones) is that they have to first be registered in Australia to charge/collect it. This is why the Australian government is obliged to levy and collect GST on ALL imports. The current policy not to levy anything above $500 is a cop-out by governments.

It is $1000 actually and as has been pointed out before the reason they don’t collect it is because the cost to do so would far out weigh the money recovered. And of course would mean hiring public servants which we know the current Liebral government sees as bad.

I reckon Kim Fischer has written a well thought out and sensible article – I thoroughly agree with the points made.

Traffic out towards the airport precinct is horrific, I live in Watson and we are experiencing traffic bottle necks which can only get worse as far as I can see. I dread the possibility that we’ll lose the trees along Antill St between Phillip Ave and the area towards Prime TV to widen the road to cope with the increased traffic, hopefully this won’t happen.

Moving workers out of the Belconnen region is nutty. Weren’t all those offices upgraded in recent years? And yes it makes a mockery out of the apartments that have been constructed in the area, I wonder what the occupancy rate of the new apartments is?

Random planning is rife. Walter Burley Griffin must be turning in his grave!!

dungfungus said :

Tymefor said :

dungfungus said :

Tymefor said :

rubaiyat said :

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

That is the beauty of the scheme, with nothing to do, or distract the employees, all they have to fall back on is to do their work.

Could prove to be a major cultural shock for most departments.

Hmm you should try pitching this idea to some of the worlds most successfully run offices. I’m sure the people at Google would love to hear about how much better removing culture and providing nothing to do but work to do, is for their efficiency.

When you don’t pay tax you can afford a few fringe benefits.

I assume you are trying to reference how many online businesses do not currently collect the GST for the products and services they provide. The emphasis there should be on collect, as it is the purchaser that actually pays the GST not the business collecting it.

No, I was referring to income tax.Australia is leading the word in cracking down on profit shifting by the large multinationals.
The problem with GST not being charged by some on-line businesses (mainly offshore ones) is that they have to first be registered in Australia to charge/collect it. This is why the Australian government is obliged to levy and collect GST on ALL imports. The current policy not to levy anything above $500 is a cop-out by governments.

Trade deficit for April is nearly $4 billion, a record.
My case rests, as they say.

If it were decided that DIBP were to move out to the airport I would probably end up having to resign or get a licence, buy a car, pay for insurance, rego etc or get fit (probably more likely to be buying a car!) and ride a push bike. With the state of public transport in Canberra it would mean and hr+ on a bus when the drive is less than 20mins..

Even moving out to Belconnen will be less convenient for me, would be more than happy staying in the city. But if the choice is Belconnen or the airport, I’d definitely choose Belconnen.

As for having stuff to do. During my lunch break I might walk down to the lake, go to the library, do some shopping, buy lunch etc and it sounds like that would not be a possibility out there, unless you want to take a stroll up to Costco.

No thanks/

Tymefor said :

dungfungus said :

Tymefor said :

rubaiyat said :

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

That is the beauty of the scheme, with nothing to do, or distract the employees, all they have to fall back on is to do their work.

Could prove to be a major cultural shock for most departments.

Hmm you should try pitching this idea to some of the worlds most successfully run offices. I’m sure the people at Google would love to hear about how much better removing culture and providing nothing to do but work to do, is for their efficiency.

When you don’t pay tax you can afford a few fringe benefits.

I assume you are trying to reference how many online businesses do not currently collect the GST for the products and services they provide. The emphasis there should be on collect, as it is the purchaser that actually pays the GST not the business collecting it.

No, I was referring to income tax.Australia is leading the word in cracking down on profit shifting by the large multinationals.
The problem with GST not being charged by some on-line businesses (mainly offshore ones) is that they have to first be registered in Australia to charge/collect it. This is why the Australian government is obliged to levy and collect GST on ALL imports. The current policy not to levy anything above $500 is a cop-out by governments.

dungfungus said :

Tymefor said :

rubaiyat said :

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

That is the beauty of the scheme, with nothing to do, or distract the employees, all they have to fall back on is to do their work.

Could prove to be a major cultural shock for most departments.

Hmm you should try pitching this idea to some of the worlds most successfully run offices. I’m sure the people at Google would love to hear about how much better removing culture and providing nothing to do but work to do, is for their efficiency.

When you don’t pay tax you can afford a few fringe benefits.

I assume you are trying to reference how many online businesses do not currently collect the GST for the products and services they provide. The emphasis there should be on collect, as it is the purchaser that actually pays the GST not the business collecting it.

Tymefor said :

rubaiyat said :

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

That is the beauty of the scheme, with nothing to do, or distract the employees, all they have to fall back on is to do their work.

Could prove to be a major cultural shock for most departments.

Hmm you should try pitching this idea to some of the worlds most successfully run offices. I’m sure the people at Google would love to hear about how much better removing culture and providing nothing to do but work to do, is for their efficiency.

Google has a huge fat cash cow to support it, and even there is now hitting walls with income growth.

btw I was being a tad sarcastic.

Tymefor said :

rubaiyat said :

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

That is the beauty of the scheme, with nothing to do, or distract the employees, all they have to fall back on is to do their work.

Could prove to be a major cultural shock for most departments.

Hmm you should try pitching this idea to some of the worlds most successfully run offices. I’m sure the people at Google would love to hear about how much better removing culture and providing nothing to do but work to do, is for their efficiency.

When you don’t pay tax you can afford a few fringe benefits.

dungfungus said :

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

It’s about business, not recreation and to that end it has been an outstanding success in fact a model for airports all over the globe. No vibrancy? Good!

Please give examples. If all over the globe, then one in each continent should surfice.

dungfungus said :

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

It’s about business, not recreation and to that end it has been an outstanding success in fact a model for airports all over the globe. No vibrancy? Good!

A business that has robbed all ACT residents of income derived by developing commercial centres on government land and led to government expenses to support it all. You call that success but then complain when the ACT government tries to do something like IKEA which will make use of that otherwise unnecessary government expense. Hmm

rubaiyat said :

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

That is the beauty of the scheme, with nothing to do, or distract the employees, all they have to fall back on is to do their work.

Could prove to be a major cultural shock for most departments.

Hmm you should try pitching this idea to some of the worlds most successfully run offices. I’m sure the people at Google would love to hear about how much better removing culture and providing nothing to do but work to do, is for their efficiency.

rubaiyat said :

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

That is the beauty of the scheme, with nothing to do, or distract the employees, all they have to fall back on is to do their work.

Could prove to be a major cultural shock for most departments.

It’s worked well at Campbell Park for many years.

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

That is the beauty of the scheme, with nothing to do, or distract the employees, all they have to fall back on is to do their work.

Could prove to be a major cultural shock for most departments.

dungfungus said :

Tymefor said :

Grrrr said :

4000 employees are spending $41m a year at “local businesses”? $10k per year per employee on what – lunches, maybe some clothes?

And what’s the definition of local business? Do national chains with a local shop count? No-one gives a rats if woolies or coles lose a few percent of their business. Are you including paid parking in that or something?

That’s number is either wildly optimistic or Immigration employees are wildly profligate. I’d suggest the former.

How about all the personal services…. hair, beauty, optometry, dentistry, dry cleaning, massage, fitness and innumerable medical services. There’s at least 41 million in those alone.

While we would be able to retain many of those clients, even were the department to move. It would absolutely stall or perhaps recede growth in those areas. Without growth, there will be no improvement in the Quality and Availability of those services, in Belconnen, for many years.

This is important because Belconnen town centre has residents! Residents both within and surrounding it. And, the number of them is growing as well.

The Airport has none

Convenient access to a large variety and high quality range of personal services benefits the community as a whole, not just the workers themselves. Whatever the actual expenditure for those workers is. It is definitely in the tens of millions of dollars. Pulling and moving that sort of money from the services sector and moving it to the airport. Will mean a lot of businesses, innovation and development will just follow it out there!

Where nobody else but the workers and Mr Snow will benefit from it.

Last time I was at the back of the airport where the old airmen’s residences were, some were occupied so there are residents there now. The new airport hotel will be completed soon. The services will follow.
I would envisage that the airport people will eventually build high quality, medium density apartments on the area where the houses are. They will be solar oriented and have triple glazing.
I would be interested in moving there even though most apartments I have seen in Canberra are inadequate.

I believe they are rented to airport workers at a very lucrative price. And never ever ever should Snow town be allowed to build apartments.

The rest of your post shows why Snowtown should not exist except as an airport. Services already exist elsewhere in areas where said business contribute to the running of the territory, not the running of Snowtown Inc.

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

It’s about business, not recreation and to that end it has been an outstanding success in fact a model for airports all over the globe. No vibrancy? Good!

Maybe the Immigration Department just wants half its workforce to resign without needing to pay them VRs? Then they can rehire out at Snowtown on low wages.

FHW said :

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

+1. Not only is Snowtown an awful place to work, it is totally trashing Canberra’s planning. And, is it good to breathe all that jet fuel? All bad.

The airport business park is a cultural desert.

No library, no small shops, no bike paths, no parks, no supermarkets, no post offices, poor public transport, expensive parking, no vibrancy. Why would any employer think it benefits anyone by moving out there? Immigration is better off alone in a city than co-located in a desert.

Tymefor said :

Grrrr said :

4000 employees are spending $41m a year at “local businesses”? $10k per year per employee on what – lunches, maybe some clothes?

And what’s the definition of local business? Do national chains with a local shop count? No-one gives a rats if woolies or coles lose a few percent of their business. Are you including paid parking in that or something?

That’s number is either wildly optimistic or Immigration employees are wildly profligate. I’d suggest the former.

How about all the personal services…. hair, beauty, optometry, dentistry, dry cleaning, massage, fitness and innumerable medical services. There’s at least 41 million in those alone.

While we would be able to retain many of those clients, even were the department to move. It would absolutely stall or perhaps recede growth in those areas. Without growth, there will be no improvement in the Quality and Availability of those services, in Belconnen, for many years.

This is important because Belconnen town centre has residents! Residents both within and surrounding it. And, the number of them is growing as well.

The Airport has none

Convenient access to a large variety and high quality range of personal services benefits the community as a whole, not just the workers themselves. Whatever the actual expenditure for those workers is. It is definitely in the tens of millions of dollars. Pulling and moving that sort of money from the services sector and moving it to the airport. Will mean a lot of businesses, innovation and development will just follow it out there!

Where nobody else but the workers and Mr Snow will benefit from it.

Last time I was at the back of the airport where the old airmen’s residences were, some were occupied so there are residents there now. The new airport hotel will be completed soon. The services will follow.
I would envisage that the airport people will eventually build high quality, medium density apartments on the area where the houses are. They will be solar oriented and have triple glazing.
I would be interested in moving there even though most apartments I have seen in Canberra are inadequate.

Grrrr said :

4000 employees are spending $41m a year at “local businesses”? $10k per year per employee on what – lunches, maybe some clothes?

And what’s the definition of local business? Do national chains with a local shop count? No-one gives a rats if woolies or coles lose a few percent of their business. Are you including paid parking in that or something?

That’s number is either wildly optimistic or Immigration employees are wildly profligate. I’d suggest the former.

How about all the personal services…. hair, beauty, optometry, dentistry, dry cleaning, massage, fitness and innumerable medical services. There’s at least 41 million in those alone.

While we would be able to retain many of those clients, even were the department to move. It would absolutely stall or perhaps recede growth in those areas. Without growth, there will be no improvement in the Quality and Availability of those services, in Belconnen, for many years.

This is important because Belconnen town centre has residents! Residents both within and surrounding it. And, the number of them is growing as well.

The Airport has none

Convenient access to a large variety and high quality range of personal services benefits the community as a whole, not just the workers themselves. Whatever the actual expenditure for those workers is. It is definitely in the tens of millions of dollars. Pulling and moving that sort of money from the services sector and moving it to the airport. Will mean a lot of businesses, innovation and development will just follow it out there!

Where nobody else but the workers and Mr Snow will benefit from it.

JC said :

bryansworld said :

dungfungus said :

bryansworld said :

dungfungus said :

It makes more sense to consolidate both agencies at Canberra Airport business park.
If Canberra is to become an international airport the functions of both agencies will be integral in making it happen. The spin-offs from international flights will create a huge new industry for Canberra and region.
As for the growing number of empty office blocks (not just Belconnen and Civic), conversion to residential seems the only viable option.

I reckon less than 1% of the staff in DIBP would be involved in functions directly relevant to a Canberra International Airport. All the others would just be out there.

Well, there you go. I have to admit that I know little about the APS and can you blame me?
Every time I ask a PS what they actually do I get a blank look.
As you say “all the others would just be out there”.

OK, my fault for being glib. The other 99% would be performing functions in the Department not directly related to the provision of services to Canberra Airport. The bulk of these would involve functions within the national office of the Department, including policy, the coordination of operational functions, support to Ministers and Parliament, inter-agency cooperation and coordination, and internal administration.

Your very wrong. The amount of people providing service to the airport would be about 20 max, out of a total staffing number of 5500 in Canberra, so thats about 0.00363636% providing direct support and 99.636363 doing other things. The rest of your post agree.

I am truly humbled by the expert opinion forthcoming after my silly suggestion.
It is time for me to buy an up-dated slide rule.

Grrrr said :

4000 employees are spending $41m a year at “local businesses”? $10k per year per employee on what – lunches, maybe some clothes?

And what’s the definition of local business? Do national chains with a local shop count? No-one gives a rats if woolies or coles lose a few percent of their business. Are you including paid parking in that or something?

That’s number is either wildly optimistic or Immigration employees are wildly profligate. I’d suggest the former.

That 10k is easily achievable, may even be an underestimate. Because it is not just the employees who do their groceries, petrol, pay rent, utilities etc, but also the department itself which has to pay rent, utilities, maintenance, order supplies, and don’t forget the number of visitors and clients that they draw into the area.

Every dollar has a multiplier effect, which is why we sailed through the GFC so smoothly when we didn’t panic and had good management at top. It is also why the ill-advised and idealogical cuts by the current government are having such a huge impact in reverse. Counter-productively because driving down the economy has cut Government income, the half of the equation the Coalition refuses to consider when “balancing” the books.

Can those pronouncing on costs, and the economic benefits of developments in the RiotACT please elaborate on their mathematical skills and financial backgrounds, because we sure hear some very strange assessments, more often fanciful exaggerations, here.

4000 employees are spending $41m a year at “local businesses”? $10k per year per employee on what – lunches, maybe some clothes?

And what’s the definition of local business? Do national chains with a local shop count? No-one gives a rats if woolies or coles lose a few percent of their business. Are you including paid parking in that or something?

That’s number is either wildly optimistic or Immigration employees are wildly profligate. I’d suggest the former.

HiddenDragon7:17 pm 01 Jun 15

“The Federal Government is by far the largest employer in the ACT. Precisely because of these large potential impacts, the local governments of most cities with a single major employer remain in constant conversation about employment and investment decisions. Yet the ACT Government remains strangely disengaged about this whole affair, and appears to be just hoping that things work out.”

The ACT Government may not be disengaged on this subject behind the scenes, but in public, it is more often engaged – in lockstep with sections of the local media – in taking pot shots at the Federal Government (just as happened in the Howard years). It is, of course, standard practice for State governments to criticise Federal governments of the opposite political persuasion (and vice versa), but given our massive (and let’s not pretend it’s otherwise) dependence on Federal spending decisions, a less blatantly personal and partisan approach from local Labor/Green politicians towards the Federal Coalition Government might, just, help in cases like this.

I suspect “taking local interests into account” will probably be interpreted as somewhere in Canberra versus outside of Canberra, rather than in a particular part of Canberra. I wouldn’t really expect the Commonwealth to care one way or the other if an office is in a particular suburb. Its job is to get the best outcome for itself.

Canberra, IMHO, will never be an international airport-Its struggling to maintain itself as a domestic airport;if we didnt have sitting weeks here with all the federal politicians and their minions I would doubt any airline would want to operate out of here.

The tender didnt specify one building, it could be in a range of buildings as long as they were within 400m of one another, and within 10km radius of the parliamentary triangle.

There are apx 1000 customs workers in canberra, and about 3000 in immigration. Customs is being abolished and replaced with Australian Border Force 1 July. Some immigration public servants will be transferred to ABF, mainly in the regions. Alot of Customs IT and corporate staff have already been moved to the department of immigration. ABF sits under the department of immigration, however the commissioner of the ABF reports to the minister I believe.

To be honest with you, there is probably little need to move anyone (apart from the fact leases are expiring). A city and belconnen set of buildings could be feasible. Centrelink operated across tuggeranong, Woden and Symonston for almost a decade. The staff there coped. ABF in civic, Immigration in Belconnen. This would be alot less disruptive for staff. Unless this is the intention…

bryansworld said :

dungfungus said :

bryansworld said :

dungfungus said :

It makes more sense to consolidate both agencies at Canberra Airport business park.
If Canberra is to become an international airport the functions of both agencies will be integral in making it happen. The spin-offs from international flights will create a huge new industry for Canberra and region.
As for the growing number of empty office blocks (not just Belconnen and Civic), conversion to residential seems the only viable option.

I reckon less than 1% of the staff in DIBP would be involved in functions directly relevant to a Canberra International Airport. All the others would just be out there.

Well, there you go. I have to admit that I know little about the APS and can you blame me?
Every time I ask a PS what they actually do I get a blank look.
As you say “all the others would just be out there”.

OK, my fault for being glib. The other 99% would be performing functions in the Department not directly related to the provision of services to Canberra Airport. The bulk of these would involve functions within the national office of the Department, including policy, the coordination of operational functions, support to Ministers and Parliament, inter-agency cooperation and coordination, and internal administration.

Your very wrong. The amount of people providing service to the airport would be about 20 max, out of a total staffing number of 5500 in Canberra, so thats about 0.00363636% providing direct support and 99.636363 doing other things. The rest of your post agree.

dungfungus said :

bryansworld said :

dungfungus said :

It makes more sense to consolidate both agencies at Canberra Airport business park.
If Canberra is to become an international airport the functions of both agencies will be integral in making it happen. The spin-offs from international flights will create a huge new industry for Canberra and region.
As for the growing number of empty office blocks (not just Belconnen and Civic), conversion to residential seems the only viable option.

I reckon less than 1% of the staff in DIBP would be involved in functions directly relevant to a Canberra International Airport. All the others would just be out there.

Well, there you go. I have to admit that I know little about the APS and can you blame me?
Every time I ask a PS what they actually do I get a blank look.
As you say “all the others would just be out there”.

OK, my fault for being glib. The other 99% would be performing functions in the Department not directly related to the provision of services to Canberra Airport. The bulk of these would involve functions within the national office of the Department, including policy, the coordination of operational functions, support to Ministers and Parliament, inter-agency cooperation and coordination, and internal administration.

bryansworld said :

dungfungus said :

It makes more sense to consolidate both agencies at Canberra Airport business park.
If Canberra is to become an international airport the functions of both agencies will be integral in making it happen. The spin-offs from international flights will create a huge new industry for Canberra and region.
As for the growing number of empty office blocks (not just Belconnen and Civic), conversion to residential seems the only viable option.

I reckon less than 1% of the staff in DIBP would be involved in functions directly relevant to a Canberra International Airport. All the others would just be out there.

Well, there you go. I have to admit that I know little about the APS and can you blame me?
Every time I ask a PS what they actually do I get a blank look.
As you say “all the others would just be out there”.

dungfungus said :

It makes more sense to consolidate both agencies at Canberra Airport business park.
If Canberra is to become an international airport the functions of both agencies will be integral in making it happen. The spin-offs from international flights will create a huge new industry for Canberra and region.

Nonsense. The people we are talking about are policy, admin and the like. Where they are located has no bearing what so ever on Canberra being an international airport or not. It might surprise you but there are already frontline immigration and customs staff working in the airport preceint, who would process international flights, but at present they are doing customs processing for incoming shipments of house lots (for the and of course international flights such as the RAAF VIP A/C etc.

On top of that the whole department does not need to be co-located. Whilst the management structure may well show an integrated department bottom line is not every individual section within the department, will or need to work together to the extent the whole department needs to be collocated and they sure as hell don’t need to be within 10k of Parliament house, nor Canberra airport.

That said I don’t believe that departments ‘owe’ anything to Canberra or individual town centres nor should a move of a department be at the whim of a secretary or indeed machinery of government changes. To clarify the last point, sure with MOG changes some people need to move (and get the chop), but there shouldn’t be any wholsale moves of the whole department for collocation etc.

dungfungus said :

It makes more sense to consolidate both agencies at Canberra Airport business park.
If Canberra is to become an international airport the functions of both agencies will be integral in making it happen. The spin-offs from international flights will create a huge new industry for Canberra and region.
As for the growing number of empty office blocks (not just Belconnen and Civic), conversion to residential seems the only viable option.

I reckon less than 1% of the staff in DIBP would be involved in functions directly relevant to a Canberra International Airport. All the others would just be out there.

It makes more sense to consolidate both agencies at Canberra Airport business park.
If Canberra is to become an international airport the functions of both agencies will be integral in making it happen. The spin-offs from international flights will create a huge new industry for Canberra and region.
As for the growing number of empty office blocks (not just Belconnen and Civic), conversion to residential seems the only viable option.

Felix the Cat7:41 am 01 Jun 15

It makes good business sense for Dept of Immigration to have most/all of it’s employees in the one building. Probably save a fair bit of (our – taxpayer) money by leasing one building (why don’t they buy?) instead of leasing several and the associated logistic costs of mail, attending meetings etc.

Why do you assume most employees live near Belconnen? I doubt this is the case, any more than someone who works at Woden doesn’t neccessarily live near Woden.

You say that there will be job losses and shop closures if Immigration move from Belconnen but for some reason you don’t seem concerned for this happening if 1500 Customs workers move from wherever they are now (Civic? There was recent thread on here where everyone was saying Civic shops are dead, they would be worse of with 1500 less people to use them).

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