Labor’s Regional Development Trick

19 Jul

Joint Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce & Senator Gary Humphries, 18 July 2010:

Building up our regional areas is a great idea but it is a shame Labor doesn’t take it seriously.

Today they announced a Building Better Regional Cities program that doesn’t add up.

“Labor’s approach is to give regional towns $200 million after ripping out $1 billion from regional development in their first budget. Labor persists with a media splash, no cash approach” said Senator Barnaby Joyce, Shadow Minister for Regional Development, today.

Labor’s approach is a ball and cup trick. The money for this new scheme will be taken from the Housing Affordability Fund and the National Rental Affordability Scheme. Both combined were supposed to deliver an additional 50,000 dwellings over the next 12 months, yet the diverted $200 million will deliver only 15,000 dwellings – 35,000 less than the same money was supposed to produce.

“The Government is trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes but the reality is that Labor would have us spend the same amount of money on building considerably fewer houses,” Opposition housing spokesman Gary Humphries said today.

“This re-announcement of funding does nothing to make housing more affordable.

“Why would the savings not simply improve the developers’ profits, as seems to have been the case with the BER?”

Senator Joyce added that, “At $200 million, the Labor party believe that school halls are 80 times more important than relieving the pressures on urban Australia. Labor was prepared to spend 12 times as much on ceiling insulation than they are going to spend on relieving Australia’s cities from population pressure and developing our inland.

“Labor’s approach will not take a town like Dubbo from where it is now to a bigger population, with $15 million per town.

“Labor’s approach ignores cities of over 30,000 people. I live in a town, St George, that has the water, low unemployment and the proximity to a major transport route between Melbourne and Brisbane, but apparently we are too small to grow.

“My view is that a small town sometimes has more potential for growth than a big one.

“The Coalition has already announced a program of $300 million to refurbish and repair bridges that will help grow the commerce needed for regional areas.

“It is a no brainer that we have to develop regional centres in Australia to relieve the pressure on Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, but it’s going to take something far more diligent and substantive than this sleepy Sunday afternoon effort by Labor.”

Senator Joyce – More Information– Matt Canavan 0458709433
Senator Humphries – More Information– Josh Manuatu 0421115365

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