Acting PM Michael McCormack on a recent trip to Rockhampton.
Acting PM Michael McCormack on a recent trip to Rockhampton. Allan Reinikka ROK040418amccorma

Public servants could 'live like kings and queens'

ACTING Prime Minister Michael McCormack has declared taking big government departments out of capital cities would be safer for families who could live like "kings and queens" in regional Australia.

Mr McCormack, who takes on the top job for the first time from tonight, will use the role to raise his profile, which is dwarfed by his predecessor, Barnaby Joyce.

In an exclusive interview with The Courier-Mail, Mr McCormack conceded he may not be as recognisable as Mr Joyce and was "a different person to Barnaby Joyce" but had a strong view of where the Nationals were heading.

He said government department decentralisation and road safety were top of his agenda.

He did not reveal which departments could be forced to relocate.

"There's far more affordable housing, they can live like kings and queens on some of their incomes that would only get them a meagre two-bedroom unit in a capital city without a view. You're only usually 10 minutes from anywhere,'' Mr McCormack said.

He also said during his 10 days as Acting PM he would take the media throng out to his electorate, where his sons would be playing first-grade AFL.

"People (there) are far more, I think, generous and caring," he said.

"I've always been a champion of decentralisation. For far too long we've seen government departments and the public service moved out of regional centres … and moved into many large cities."

Asked about how he was feeling about filling in for Malcolm Turnbull, he said "the anticipation was building".

For 10 days Mr McCormack will drag the press pack around regional Queensland, NSW and Victoria.



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