A FIRED-UP Daryl Maguire has defended his government’s record in attracting new investment to Wagga and says relocating public servants to the city is no easy feat.
The member for Wagga was responding to questions asked in business circles over future growth for the city, with population increasing by just 1 per cent last year.
Several leaders – including Committee 4 Wagga and mayor Rod Kendall – are firmly resolved that growth is tied to attracting government departments from Sydney and Canberra to Wagga.
Mr Maguire said “life isn’t as easy as picking up a department and plonking it somewhere”.
“It’s not all about moving departments to a certain place,” he said.
"It just doesn't cut it these days.”
A central plank of a Wagga City Council submission to a Senate inquiry to take place later this year is about decentralisation and moving government departments to regional areas.
The state government is pressing ahead with its “decade of decentralisation" program – but the majority of public servant relocations have taken place from the Sydney CBD to western Sydney.
Mr Maguire said it might not be feasible to move big government department’s such as health to the city through outlying offices.
He added a number of government departments employ people in the city.
Member for Riverina Michael McCormack spoke of the "battle” thrashed out behind closed doors to draw private industry and government departments to the city.
“It’s National Party policy to push for more decentralisation. We want more government departments to move out of the city and into the regions,” he said.
“(But) it’s a constant fight.
“You're going into battle with 149 other electorates in Australia.”
Mr McCormack said there was a “pipeline" of federal and state investment to the city such as the Wagga Base Hospital and Kapooka Bridge projects.
But Simon Freemantle, a PRDnationwide Wagga director, said on Thursday new outlays of government investment could be a boost to house prices.
Mr Freemantle said Wagga was deserving of new investment because it was a regional centre that serviced the expansive south-west NSW region.
“When was the last time a state school was built here?” he said.
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