Hot-desking in regional Queensland?
From the Brisbane Times, 1st August 2014
The Newman government appears to be distancing itself from moving more business to the regions as it continues its campaign of selling the Queensland Plan.
The day after the 30-year blueprint for the state’s future was announced by Premier Campbell Newman, Environment Minister Andrew Powell told a Local Government Association of Queensland conference in Hervey Bay that an upwardly mobile population would fuel regional Queensland’s growth, more so than the relocation of government departments and other businesses.
He said technological advances that alleviated previous necessities for employees to work in an office environment could potentially reverse the migration of regional populations to the city.
“The concept of regional hubs is such that anyone, public servants included, could hot-desk from any community in the state,” he said.
“Instead of forcing people to go to a centre, people will gravitate to where they want to go.
“People will want to move to the regions if we give them the ability to do so.
“Three or four days a week you can hot desk from Hervey Bay and it won’t necessarily be the department that is moved … but it might be 10 staff.”
Doubling the populations of Queensland’s regions outside the state’s southeast is one of the key components of the Queensland Plan, which Mr Newman unveiled on Thursday as “the people’s plan” following 18 months of consultation with 80,000 members of the community.
Mr Powell’s comments came the day after Mr Newman declared the government was committed to departmental decentralisation.
But, like Mr Powell, he said it was not the key to regional population growth.
“We are committed to doing that [decentralisation] but that is not how you double the population of regional Queensland – you double the population by building up jobs, health and social infrastructure, making them attractive to people, by having a policy for migration to the regions and incentives to do that,” Mr Newman said.
“We are working on that with the federal government. It’s not just about the activities of the Queensland Government. It’s not just about governments being located somewhere.”
Mr Powell told delegates at the LGAQ conference that because the anticipated regional migration would be fuelled by people choosing where they wished to live, rather than being forced to relocate to specific centres, it was up to regional councils to begin showcasing their strengths to attract more residents.
“Identify what your regional strength is in, then start having a conversation about growing that strength,” he said.
“Look at your regional strength, what you can offer people then start thinking innovatively around the infrastructure you need.
“Please don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
“Decentralisation is the key to making each region strong and independent.”