After trying to sneak through a move of the department to the airport just two years ago, the Secretary of Immigration and Border Protection is once again seeking to disadvantage thousands of Canberra residents and employees.

Residential developments in Belconnen and Gungahlin will see Canberra’s northside population grow by over 10,000 in the next five years. Despite this, by its own calculations the department is going to spend $255million to move more jobs to the airport than is operationally necessary.

Whenever a Commonwealth agency puts jobs further away from where people live, it increases infrastructure costs to the ACT government as well as transport time and cost for all Canberra residents from increased traffic congestion.

There is a deep hypocrisy in the Commonwealth government seeing no problem in relocating the APVMA to regional areas, but refusing to converse with the ACT government on employment matters local to Canberra.

The ACT should be given a seat at the table with the Commonwealth about all major relocation activities.

It is vital for the sustainability of Canberra that employment in Belconnen and other town centres is maintained and increased over time.

No other major employer is as hands-off with local authorities as we see with the dismissive attitude of the Commonwealth government towards the ACT government.