Mining magnate Gina Rinehart has put forward a thought-provoking idea – to move thousands of Federal Government bureaucrats from Canberra to Alice Springs.
She says the departments of Indigenous Affairs and Defence at least should be transferred to the Red Centre.
Mrs Rineheart has a good point.
The vast majority of Australia’s Aboriginal people – certainly those who would be considered “tribal” – live in northern Australia.
And yet all the major government decisions about their lives are made in Canberra, the most middle-class, white city in the country.
However, Mrs Rineheart’s suggestion that the Defence Department be moved to Alice is off target.
The department, or at least a significant part of it, should be in Darwin, which is at last being recognised by Australia and the US as a city of major strategic military importance.
There will be a much greater army, navy and air force presence in the Top End within a few years. Surely a sizeable number of bureaucrats should come with the troops.
Decentralisation of government offices is healthy in many ways.
It boosts economies away from Canberra and gives public serevants the chance to be closer to the people affected by their decisions.
Modern technology makes decentralisation not only possible, but sensible.
…and another thing
THE Bombing of Darwin commemoration at the weekend went very well; the event received worldwide coverage. It was a bitter-sweet time. Sad memories came flooding back for many. But at least the nation has now finally recognised that Darwin was the frontline in the Second World War.