Border job scrutinised

By Country News

Victorian Nationals leader Peter Walsh said Victoria would be waiting ‘‘years’’ for a Cross-Border Commission to be established, with questions still remaining regarding the timeline and location for its establishment.

Victorian Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford faced questions regarding the commissioner at Parliamentary Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) earlier this month and said where the commissioner would be located was dependent on the recruitment process.

‘‘I certainly do not expect the commissioner to be based anywhere near Melbourne,’’ Ms Pulford told the estimates hearing.

‘‘I think that we would not want to limit our selection of the cross-border commissioner through the recruitment process by predetermining a location... but I think we can rule out Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne — somewhere in proximity to one of our borders.

‘‘We are looking to set up something very mobile and very practical, like the NSW model.’’

Yet Mr Walsh called the commissioner a ‘‘mirage’’ and called on the government to ‘‘get on with resolving problems with red tape and regulation between states’’.

He said if elected, a Liberal Nationals government would spend $4 million during the next four years on a cross-border commissioner based in Mildura.

Ms Pulford said the government expected to begin recruitment within the next month with future funding to be evaluated following the appointment of a border commissioner.