Feb 15, 2013

Federal Labor and Regional Australia – Letter to the Editor – Northern Daily Leader, Tamworth

I write in response to the silly claims recently made by Nationals Senator Fiona Nash (12/02/13).

What matters most when it comes to Regional Australia is not where ministers live but what they actually deliver for local communities around the country – and on any fair and objective measure, Federal Labor has the runs on the board.

In my areas of infrastructure and transport alone we’ve already done much to reverse the neglect we inherited, including more than doubling spending on regional road and rail projects to almost $22 billion.

As well as delivering major upgrades to our nation’s highways, this unprecedented level of infrastructure funding is also building more rest stops for truck drivers, fixing dangerous black spots on local country roads, strengthening security at regional airports and helping to keep remote airstrips operational.

On top of all that, we’ve almost completed rebuilding more than a third of the Interstate Rail Freight Network – some 3,700 kilometre of track – and become the first ever national government to commit to building the Inland Rail Link between Melbourne and Brisbane via the NSW Central West.

And regional communities are witnessing the first stages in the rollout of the most important piece of Twenty-First Century infrastructure: the National Broadband Network, a project the Nationals will cancel if elected.

Over the past five years, Federal Labor has delivered the better deal Regional Australia has long deserved.

Lastly, as a political party formed more than a century ago in western Queensland to represent the interests of regional workers and their local communities, the Labor Party is not going to be lectured to by a National Party which always puts their hands up when the Liberals from Sydney’s North Shore tell them to.