THE opening of the new office of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in Coffs Harbour on 7 August will deliver improved access to services for the maritime sector and more jobs for the region, according to the government.

The opening of the regional headquarters is just one part of AMSA’s plan to have 50% of its workforce based outside of Canberra by 2022.

Deputy Prime Minister and minister for transport Michael McCormack said the new office would provide a more convenient point of contact for the commercial vessel industry in the northern New South Wales region.

“This builds on our decentralisation agenda with commercial vessel operators and seafarers from Northern NSW no longer needing to travel to Newcastle to get face-to-face help from the National Regulator,” Mr McCormack said.

“It makes perfect sense for our national maritime safety agency to expand its footprint into regional areas such as Coffs Harbour, bringing increased access to services and improving the local economy.

“Regional centres are a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family and I’d like to see more people moving out of the capital cities and explore what communities such as those here on the Mid-North Coast have to offer.”

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Minister for regional services Mark Coulton said a larger public service presence in areas such as Coffs Harbour brings government closer to the people it serves.

“In my new role as the minister responsible for decentralisation, I’m focused on enhancing the reputation of our regions as viable places to do business, both private and government sectors,” Mr Coulton said.

“When additional regional jobs are created, it’s about finding the right fit to ensure those jobs connect well with the area, and that certainly is the case with AMSA in Coffs Harbour.”

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said seven staff have already relocated to work in Coffs Harbour and recruitment is underway for a further 20 employees in the coming months.

“I understand there have been plenty of AMSA staff from Canberra putting their hands up to move to beautiful Coffs Harbour,” Mr Conaghan said.

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