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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1752

Rural and Regional Services

Dear Mrs Wicks,

Thank you for your letter dated 15 December 2017 regarding petition number EN0356 requesting the House of Representatives extend the jurisdiction of the ACT Government to represent South East/West NSW and the Tablelands. The Prime Minister has asked me to respond on his behalf.

The Commonwealth Government is committed to working with all levels of government to build strong regional communities businesses and families have confidence in. For example, the Government has committed $220 million to the locally-led Regional Jobs and Investment Packages, including for the NSW South Coast, to help regions in Australia diversify their economies, stimulate longterm economic growth and deliver sustainable employment.

As outlined in the Government's Regions 2030 policy statement, regional Australia is vital to the economic and social success of our country, and the Government is taking a coordinated and long-term approach to investing in our regions, addressing unique challenges and harnessing comparative advantages.

The establishment of the site for the capital of Australia, the 'territory for the seat of government' was established on land surrendered by NSW under the conditions set out under Section 125 of the Constitution. Section 123 of the Constitution provides that changing the boundaries of a state requires the consent of the Parliament of that state and approval by referendum in that state.

The Commonwealth Government remains satisfied that the ACT serves its purpose as the seat of government for Australia in its current form and size.

The Commonwealth Government is committed to working in close partnership with state and local governments to deliver on our programme of regional development towards improved economic development and improved infrastructure, health, education and communications in preference to adjusting boundaries of state lines.

Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

Yours sincerely

from the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Senator McGrath