Coronavirus recovery: Andrew Gee pushes for decentralisation to help nation bounce back

REGIONAL BOOST: Member for Calare Andrew Gee is calling for regional centres like Orange to be made a key part of coronavirus recovery. FILE PHOTO
REGIONAL BOOST: Member for Calare Andrew Gee is calling for regional centres like Orange to be made a key part of coronavirus recovery. FILE PHOTO

The ability to work from home could be a huge boon to regional centres like Orange as Member for Calare Andrew Gee backed policies which focused on getting people out to the bush as part of Australia's coronavirus recovery.

Hundreds of thousands of non-essential workers across the country have been working from home since March, and Mr Gee said regions would be best-placed to capitalise on the new-found acceptance of working from anywhere.

"Big firms in the city have seen they've been able to get people working productively from home ... Westpac has said they've been amazed at what people are able to achieve," he said.

"[Regionally] population density is less, real estate is cheaper but they can still work from home so I'm looking at ways we can foster that."

He said decentralisation policy could possibly be funded by dipping into the $60 billion over-allocated for JobKeeper payments.

Mr Gee said while the $60bn "isn't money in the bank", he wasn't averse to spending the cash if it was warranted.

"It's money we're printing or borrowing and our kids and grandkids are going to have to pay back so I think if any of that is to be used, it's to be used very cautiously," he said.

"Leaving aside the $60bn, I think decentralisation needs to be part of the national recovery story and I think the regions are very well placed to lead our national recovery.

"We in this part of the world are very well placed, as is the rest of country Australia, to lead a recovery."

Speaking as most students returned to school across Orange on Monday, Mr Gee said having students back in class was the first step in a return to normal.

"That's the result of a lot of hard work and sacrifice," he said.

"Australia has taken a huge economic blow and we need folks back at work, we need businesses employing people and we need the wheels of the economy turning again."

"Everyone has done the hard yards, they've stayed home where they could and practiced social distance and the results have obviously been very positive, from Lithgow to Broken Hill we don't have a single active case."

However, he urged Australians to be vigilant and encouraged people to continue to get tested if they developed symptoms.

This story Regional centres 'need to be part of the national recovery' from coronavirus: Gee first appeared on Central Western Daily.