Barnaby: Labor’s “Free Beer Tomorrow” Budget

11 May

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce and The Hon. Bob Baldwin, 11 May 2011:

A letdown for regional Australia

For regional Australia this budget amounts to beautiful promises but a meagre reality.

“This Budget is a cunning and shrewd way to promise lots, do less now and saying trust me I’ll do the rest of what I was going to do later. In other words “I really, really love you but I just don’t want to get married yet, but by gosh it will be a big engagement ring when I say I do” said Senator Barnaby Joyce today.

“As long as you say the numbers but don’t tell the time, this trick always works. It is the typical “free beer tomorrow” promise,” Senator Joyce said.

“The only thing this Budget delivers for regional Australia is a serving of mirage economics,” Mr Baldwin said.

“This Budget proves the Gillard Government’s commitments to regional Australia are nothing but unfunded spin.

“The Coalition was investing more in regional Australia than the Gillard Government is, and we didn’t need a massive mining tax to pay for it.

“Labor are so caught up in spin they think that just by whacking the word ‘regional’ into a program name they’ve done their bit for regional Australia.

“Not a single one of Labor’s regional funds actually quarantines funding for regional Australia – the terms of the Regional Development Australia Fund permit the entire fund to be spent in capital cities.

“Just two months ago Simon Crean promised $1 billion for the Regional Development Australia Fund but the Government’s own Budget shows Labor will deliver just $150 million of this funding before the next election,” Mr Baldwin said.

This Budget shows that $500 million has been cut from regional programs.

1. $350 million from the Priority Regional Infrastructure Program. 1

2. $100 million from the Building Better Regional Cities program. 2

3. $50 million redirected from the Regional Development Australia fund for projects in Lyne. 3

Senator Joyce added that “On top of that it is the triumph of rhetoric over substance when you can announce a $1 billion road without one inch of asphalt. 4

“The Magnus opus of Simon Crean’s regional policy has to be seen to be disbelieved. I can not wait to tell the people of Tenterfield that part of their regional policy goes to assist the Australian Antarctic division. I know it is getting cold there but I didn’t know it was that freezing.

“More substantially, the people of Southern Cross will be ecstatic about the regional development appropriation for Perth Airport roads amounting to $480 million. That folks is the biggest allocation from “regional” infrastructure spending,” Senator Joyce said.

1. Budget paper no. 2, p. 293

2. Budget paper no. 2, p. 290

3. Budget paper no. 2, p. 290

4. From Minister Albanese’s media release ‘More Funding for the Pacific Highway’, “The extra funding will complete all the necessary detailed planning along those remaining sections of highway where this has not already occurred. If matched by the NSW Government, further construction could also begin in the short term including on the Frederickton to Eungai section.” (emphasis added), http://www.minister.infrastructure.gov.au/aa/releases/2011/May/budget-infra_05-2011.htm

More Information – Matthew Canavan 0458 709433 Senator Joyce’s office
Alistair Mitchell – 0411 157707 Mr Baldwin’s office

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