This open letter has been sent to:
- Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, Minister for Finance
- Hon Jamie Briggs MP, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development
- Andrew Barr MLA, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
Dear Minister Cormann, Assistant Minister Briggs, and Chief Minister Barr
The potential move of 4000 Department of Immigration and Border Protection employees out of the Belconnen Town Centre would be devastating if it went ahead. As the employer of more than one-third of all Canberra workers, the federal government has a unique duty of care to Canberra citizens.
Now that Finance has taken responsibility for the Commonwealth property portfolio, it is pleasing that Minister Cormann’s press release of 11 May 2015 agrees that ‘local impacts’ need to be taken into account. However, the Commonwealth can still unilaterally act in a way that seriously damages the ACT.
As such I am requesting three commitments from you:
- To amend the National Capital Plan so that all major proposals to change Commonwealth employment arrangements in the ACT are first subject to consultation with the ACT Chief Minister and affected communities.
- To rule out any move of Immigration employees out of the Belconnen Town Centre.
- Should the Commonwealth want to consolidate Immigration and Customs into one location, that it will first consult the ACT government and community on the option of moving Customs to Belconnen.
I look forward to your response.
UPDATE: The Chief Minister responded to my open letter on 30 June. His full reply can be viewed here.