A petition from the community may be the only way for Orange City Council to fight moves by the federal government to relocate Medicare to the Centrelink office.
Cr Glenn Taylor will ask his fellow councillors for support to start the petition, at Thursday’s meeting, and also ask federal member for Calare John Cobb and labor duty senator for Calare Matt Thistlethwaite to back the council’s campaign.
He is confident the community will be on-side to fight the federal government’s “retrograde decision” to combine the two offices.
“I accept that Centrelink is there, that’s done but we need to get on the front foot now,” he said.
“This is something we have control over ... it’s just common sense.”
A spokesman for Mr Thistlethwaite said the duty senator for Calare would meet with Cr Taylor at Centrelink tomorrow to see firsthand the traffic issues at the site.
Mr Thistlethwaite said he had spoken with Human Services Minister Kim Carr about community concerns regarding Medicare’s move and Centrelink services in Orange.
“The government recognises there is some concern in Orange about this co-location proposal, and is committed to considering these views and consulting further with the community,” he said.
Mr Cobb said had approached the minister and would also support the petition.
“I’m just amazed they put the original Centrelink office where they did,” he said.
“There’s nowhere to park, it’s just crazy.
“I’d like to blame the minister for it but I’m sure he wasn’t personally responsible.”
Cr Taylor said he believed Medicare was the most used government agency and could not understand the decision to move the office from “smack bang” in the CBD.
“The government, if it changes its mind, will be applauded by the community,” he said.
“I understand they want to put all agencies under one roof, but in Orange’s case [the Centrelink site] been identified as having major traffic issues.”