Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 25 March 2013:
Labor ignores regional Australia again
Ms Gillard has decided that the best place to understand regional Australia is from Marrickville.
Anthony Albanese hasn’t got the conviction to stand by his ally Rudd but seemingly will have the conviction to look after the interests of regional Australia. He has gained a very good grasp of it apparently from his electorate office located at 334A Marrickville Road, Marrickville.
Obviously the Member for Page, Capricornia or Lingiari are not competent enough in the Ministry. It is saying something when you get a Minister for Regional Australia from Marrickville.
When you look at it from our point of view in regional Australia, imagine if we had the Minister for Urban Issues with his electorate office in Quilpie. It is a slap in the face of what the term regional means and nobody in regional areas can take this portfolio under Gillard seriously any more.
Five Coalition Shadow Cabinet Ministers are based in regional Australia as opposed to none from Labor. How can this government possibly represent regional Australia when they do not have a single minister based in a regional area?
Mr Albanese held the Regional Development and Local Government ministries from 2007 to 2010 and did nothing to improve the lives of rural and regional Australians.
He managed to strip $1 billion out of regional programmes in the first budget alone and $500 million from the Regional Partnerships and Growing Regions programmes.
Area Consultative Committees were abolished and along with it 500 voluntary committee positions and 150 jobs. After breaking his promise of retaining these programs Mr Albanese even refused to fund projects already approved for funding by the former Government.
Based on Mr Albanese’s track record in Regional Development, why did Prime Minister Gillard reward him with these portfolios? It just proves that Regional Australia is nothing but an afterthought for Ms Gillard and the Labor Party.