THERE'S a sense of back to the future with Calare MP Andrew Gee's decentralisation portfolio.
Mr Gee has been rewarded for his growing stature within the government by being awarded the roles of Minister for Regional Education and Decentralisation.
It's a significant promotion for Mr Gee who previously held only a "minister assisting the minister" role.
And he must be pleased with two portfolios handed to him, as they both fit nicely with his areas of interests in parliament while also offering scope for real success.
Even Mr Gee's political opponents would have to acknowledge the progress he has already made in the field of regional education for his electorate, becoming the driving political force behind Charles Sturt University's (now successful) push for a regional medical school.
Mr Gee has long pushed the idea that training young professionals in country areas is the best way to keep them in country areas once they graduate, but the same philosophy can be applied to all levels of education.
Mr Gee has also strongly supported the development of local school facilities and his new portfolio offers the opportunity for him to pursue those interests across the entire nation.
But what about decentralisation?
Governments at both state and federal levels, dating back to the 1970s, have tried to pursue decentralisation of public services as a way of easing the strain on the larger cities.
It's been 28 years after the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Head Office was move to Orange, and it remains one of the state's most successful decentralisation projects. The new DPI building will be completed mid-2020.
But, in general, wins like that have been few and far between. The big cities just get bigger while many regional areas are left to wither.
But Orange's proximity to Sydney and Canberra means it stands to benefit more than most centres if decentralisation becomes more commonplace, and we should again be wishing Mr Gee well in the role.
If he can do his job, then there should be more jobs for everyone in Orange.
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