I CANNOT allow the recent comments from Senator Fiona Nash in your paper’s Soapbox column to go unchallenged.
Senator Nash is full of praise for her own efforts and those of her National Party colleagues at their recent federal conference in deciding, if elected, to divert $2 billion “from the city to the regions”.
It was, said Senator Nash, “hard to imagine” Labor securing such a deal.
A simple check of this year’s budget would show that in this financial year alone, Federal Labor is spending $2.8 billion in rural and regional communities.
In fact, two-thirds of our record $36 billion investment is going to the regions. We are rebuilding one-third of the interstate rail network. We will shortly complete duplication of the Hume Highway. And our investment in the National Broadband Network will allow regional Australia unprecedented access to the national and international marketplace.
Do the maths, Senator Nash, and you’ll find that on transport infrastructure alone, Federal Labor has funded twice as much as the Howard government over a similar period of time.
In relation to the Pacific Highway, the best thing Senator Nash could do is ask her friends in the NSW government to simply honour their promise and pay their fair share.
Federal Labor has made the final down-payment of $3.5 million to complete the Pacific Highway duplication by 2016. This is on top of the $4.1 billion already committed since 2007. Compare this with the $1.3 billion over the entire 12 years of the Howard government.
FEDERAL MINISTER FOR