Tag Archives: regional australia

Barnaby: The Bush Has Been Rorted

21 Jul

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Australia must invest in the regions that are the source of our wealth. It is nauseating to hear the pejorative “pork barrelling” used for what is strategic investment. We must think of the benefits of regionalism logically: where are the coal mines, the iron ore mines, wheat paddocks, cotton fields, the cattle and many of the tourism attractions?

Why is a bus network in a capital city “nation-building investment” but a road in regional Australia welfare?

Ask yourself a very simple question: how many of the consumer items that reflect your standard of living came from overseas? So who is sending something in the other direction to pay for all of this?

While only one-third of Australians live in regional areas, over half of our exports come from regional Australia. If a person with $2 goes to a table of four and kicks off a series of transactions that move the coin around the table, then broadly speaking the gross domestic product of that table would be $10. The person with the coin is often regional Australia and, if they didn’t turn up, the GDP of the four remaining people would be zero.

People often lose sight of the fundamental economics of Australia by failing to think of the source of our wealth, not just its location. My shire of Balonne in western Queensland produces $600 million of cotton, over $100 million of grain, about $30-40 million worth of cattle each year, as well as sheep, wool, grapes, onions, kangaroo meat, wild pigs and free range eggs. about $750 million of annual renewable income from about 5000 people.

Investing in the areas that produce this wealth would seem to me to be a pretty smart thing to do, especially if we want to pay off our $197 billion in gross debt, plus a similar amount in state government debt.

Canberra, if we don’t start paying off debt rather than just accumulating it you might not have a job.

Parts of Queensland and NSW are currently living with the coal seam gas boom.

In some areas the roads are getting wrecked. There are people charging over the land in white Toyota wagons with red flags on what looks like a fishing pole strapped to the bullbar.

Some of their wells are producing $1million a day in gross income. For this, farmers get anywhere between a slab of beer at the worst and up to about $10,000 a year at the best. So the farmer gets less than 1 per cent of the income stream from the wells that sit on their place, affecting the land’s value and in some instances completely compromising how the farm works.

Are there new houses in these regions? No, generally not, just trucked in demountables called ”dongas”, lined up like barracks. It looks like you’ve been invaded by an army. Their lifestyle is not very good and their contribution to the community is generally not very good either.

When the wool industry came they developed the pubs, the roads and the towns. The money stayed local and was spent locally. With wool production in regional Australia we were the richest nation on earth.

With the cattle industry we had the development of Northern Australia and genuine progress in the income of indigenous people in some areas and genuine dignity in having their own business and the prospect of greater independence for their communities.

But in some areas, if the coal seam gas industry left tomorrow, the only legacy they would leave is potholes. Sure, state coffers would be upset, but in some areas of regional Australia they couldn’t give a toss, in fact they would be better off without them.

Royalties must be reinvested in the regions that generate the income stream; not all royalties, but a substantial proportion. Taxation rates must be adjusted so that we can develop regions. People must be encouraged to fly in, stay and live, not fly in and fly out.

Australia must have a genuine vision for a much wider development of our regions, otherwise what we are will be as good as it gets and over time we will become tired, worn out and diminished.

Barnaby Teaches Simple Simon Some Basic Accountancy

16 May

Another reason why we must replace the Goose with a proper accountant.

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 16 May 2011:

Pulling a swiftie on regional Australia

Simon Crean announced today that $1 billion worth of projects had applied for the first round of the $1 billion Regional Development Australia Fund. “The problem is that there is only $300 million in the budget over the next four years,” said Senator Barnaby Joyce today.

“I am currently travelling around northern NSW. Northern NSW is actually in regional Australia.

You know what it’s like – trees, wildlife, long distances between pubs, that sort of stuff. Most of the area is kind of dark at night.

Simon, regional Australia does not include the Antarctic, which it does in your regional budget documents, it does not include Perth, where your biggest “regional” project is being funded, and it does not include Adelaide, where migrants can come to live under your Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.

Now I know Simon you have done a smoke and mirrors trick in the definition of regional Australia, and now you are trying to pull the same swiftie with the definition of money.

You see Simon it’s quite simple, you only had $300 million allocated to the Regional Development Fund in the forward estimates, but now $1 billion worth of projects have applied.

Now to keep things nice and simple Simon, you have only got $300 million to spend, but in your media release claim that $1 billion of projects have applied for a $1 billion fund.

I am having a wonderful time in regional Australia. One day I might actually bump into you.”

More Information – Matthew Canavan 0458 709433

Barnaby: Budget Duds Regional Australia … Again

10 May

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 10 May 2011:

Budget set to dud regional Australia… again

Labor’s first three budgets have not been good for regional Australia.

Its first budget slashed $1 billion in regional funding and axed the OPEL contract to deliver fast broadband to regional communities. Its second budget introduced a carbon emissions tax and slashed $900 million from the agriculture budget.

And its third heralded a mining tax and ramped up water buy-backs from farmers. Tonight’s is not shaping up as any better.

“Labor’s record has never lived up to its rhetoric – tonight will be no exception. The Government has already made overblown assurances that don’t stack up – like re-announcing road projects, short-term skilled migrants in the regions and a boost to apprenticeship schemes that specifically exclude agriculture and horticulture,” Leader of The Nationals Warren Truss said.

“A few things you can count on Labor to deliver tonight… less money for the regions and two big new taxes on the way.

“But we are being asked to take on trust that the Treasurer, who plunged us into record debt and the budget into a $50 billion deficit in just four years, will return the nation’s books to surplus over the next two.

“Labor is, again, taking us for mugs. But we’ve been down this path before. People in the regions do not trust a government that has already robbed them blind, habitually broken promises, overseen dramatic cost of living increases on households and mired us in massive debt.

“Once the budget hype subsides, regional Australia will be counting the costs… again.”

Senator Barnaby Joyce added: “Half of Mr Swan’s life is a promise, the other is an excuse. Tonight we are due to get both.”

“As an example, the biggest promise Labor has made in regional Australia is the Perth airport roads upgrade. I keep trying to explain this to the people of Collarenebri about how well they are getting looked after, by this regional package, but I just can’t convince them.

“They need not worry. Wayne is going to whack them between the eyes again as he ramps up their fringe benefit tax every time they jump in the car.

“Meanwhile one of the largest items, the carbon tax, doesn’t even “crack a feature” – as my old boss in accountancy called it. Interesting, the carbon tax used to be the greatest moral challenge of our time, now it doesn’t get its own line on the nation’s P&L.”

“Instead of new taxes, the Nationals want to create more opportunity for regional Australia. We have led efforts to reinstate Youth Allowance for students from regional areas. We have established a dams task group to open up new areas of economic opportunity in our nation. We want to unlock the $1.4 trillion invested in superannuation, attracting investment in nation building infrastructure through targeted tax concessions.”

Mr Truss and Senator Joyce declared The Nationals have a plan for regional Australia. Labor doesn’t even know where regional Australia is.


The facts on regional Australia

Just as it has done every year, Labor will make a lot of big claims tonight. But once again, Labor’s budget is set to dud regional Australia with less money for the regions and two great big new taxes on the way.

Labor has not delivered for regional Australia

PROMISE: Labor announced a $10 billion regional Australia agreement with the independents which apparently swayed them to support Labor.

REALITY: Less than one-tenth of this was new money, $800 million for a regional development fund (which has since been cut by $350 million) and $140 million for increased ethanol assistance. The rest was an already announced $6 billion Regional Infrastructure Fund (funded from the mining tax) and the allocation of existing health and education funds to regional Australia.

Less than one year in Labor has cut money from regional Australia

PROMISE: In their agreement with the independents, the Government promised $1.4 billion in funding for economic, social and community infrastructure in regional Australia.

REALITY: On 3 March, 2011 Labor announced a $1 billion Regional Australia Fund, $400 million less than what was originally promised.

Labor is spending even less on regional Australia than in its first term

PROMISE: Labor promised to increase investment in regional Australia and Julia Gillard promised “to deliver for regional Australia”.

REALITY: The $1 billion Regional Australia Fund is less than the regional development funding it replaces, the $1.2 billion Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program. On an annual basis, it’s $170 million less per year. The new fund amounts to $200 million per year (five-year program). The old fund amounted to $370 million per year (over three years).

The mining tax is a dud deal for the regions

PROMISE: Labor says that it will use the proceeds of the mining tax to invest in regional Australia.

REALITY: The mining tax will rip out at least $40 billion from regional Australia in the next decade. Only $6 billion has been earmarked for regional Australia.

Labor can’t even define where regional Australia is

PROMISE: Labor promised a new deal for “regional” Australia.

REALITY: Labor’s announcements so far from regional funds spend more in capital cities than the regions. The biggest “regional” promise Labor has made is the $480 million investment in the Perth Airports road upgrade.


Media Contacts: Mr Truss: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6277 4482 or 0467 650 020 or brett.heffernan@aph.gov.au

Senator Joyce: Matt Canavan on 6277 3244 or 0458 709 433 or matthew.canavan@aph.gov.au

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