6 May 2016
The Turnbull Liberal Government’s decision to shut Newcastle’s Passport Office by the end of August this year is another blow to jobs and services in our region.
As the only Passport Office between Sydney and the Queensland border, the Newcastle Passport Office provides an important service for regional NSW, especially in relation to complex matters that cannot be appropriately dealt with at Post Office level.
The government claims its Budget is all about jobs and growth, but they are closing services and taking jobs from the regions.
The loss of this service has significant implications for Newcastle and the Hunter.
I wrote to the Minister on three separate occasions last year seeking an urgent briefing following reports that Newcastle Passport Office looked set to close.
I also asked the Minister to provide certainty for staff and the community they support.
The Minister has failed to act on all fronts, leaving the Newcastle and Hunter region high and dry.
With passport fees and priority processing fees set to rise following the Budget, people will not only have to pay more for their passport, they will also have to travel to Sydney for complex matters or priority processing.
This is yet another blow to the Hunter, with both jobs and a key local service lost.