Nov 14, 2013

Truss fails first test

Warren Truss is continuing to fail regional Australia by refusing to honour $150 million in community infrastructure grants.

And when challenged in Parliament today to explain why, the Deputy Prime Minister was struck dumb.

Last week Labor revealed that the Coalition had refused to honour grants awarded in July to every council in the country for spending on local infrastructure projects like swimming pools and sporting fields.

The grants, awarded under Round 5 of the Regional Australia Development Fund, were designed to create economic activity and jobs in regional areas. They had been formally announced and properly funded in the 2013-14 Budget.

Today in Question Time, Mr Truss attacked carbon pricing as a drain on the resources of councils like the Mackay Regional Council.

When I asked the minister why he was denying the Mackay Regional Council a $484,411 RDAF grant, he ran for cover.

If Mr Truss, who welcomed the grants when I announced them in July, was truly concerned about financial position of the Mackay Regional Council and every other council in the nation, he would hand over the RDAF money.

Instead, he and Tony Abbott are so obsessed with cost-cutting they pay no heed to the impact of their decisions on jobs and economic development.

NOTE: A full list of the council grants being withheld by the Abbott Government is attached