May 22, 2009

National Party must tell the truth

National Party must tell the truth


The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

May 22 2009

Today, I call on the Leader of the Nationals, Warren Truss, to tell the truth about the Rudd Labor Government’s record investment in regional communities.

Mr Truss is deliberately misleading regional communities.

The Government has established an $800 million Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program to invest in regional and local community infrastructure.

Through this Program, we have already provided nearly $5.1 million for 37 community projects in Mr Truss’ electorate of Wide Bay.

Mr Truss voted against this funding just months ago in the Parliament.

This funding is in addition to $488 million we are providing to being the duplication of the Bruce Highway – Cooroy to Curra section in Mr Truss’ electorate.

The only side of politics that wants to slash funding for regional communities is his own.

The Rudd Labor Government is providing real funding for real community construction projects that will make a genuine difference in regional communities.

The former government’s discredited Regional Partnerships program provided about $70 million a year – with one-third of funding going to just 10 Coalition electorates.

The National Party also provided about $43 million to capital cities under its Regional Partnerships program.

As promised at the 2007 election, we are also overhauling the old Area Consultative Committees into Regional Development Australia, a modern, one-stop shop for communities seeking assistance from the federal, state and local government.

The Government is restoring the Regional Development Australia network’s role in providing high-level strategic advice to all three levels of government, and their level of funding is appropriate for that function.

The Rudd Government is working with state and local governments on an orderly transition to regional Development Australia.

Warren Truss should get fair dinkum and acknowledge this record support for regional Australia that is being delivered by the Rudd Government.