12 May 2023

McCormack slams Labor budget for 'hurting the region'

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Member for the Riverina Michael McCormack says the new food tax will hurt families. Photo: Supplied.

Member for Riverina Michael McCormack says the Federal Budget is a disappointment for Wagga Wagga.

Mr McCormack released a statement saying the new budget will hurt those living in regional and rural communities.

The new budget will introduce a new food tax on Australian families.

The Member for Riverina said it was senseless that farmers needed to pay tax for the biosecurity risk of international importers as it would be passed on to consumers.

“It is quite rude that the Labor Government would ask farmers to pay for the biosecurity costs of importers from other countries, especially considering the power of work they do to keep our economy strong, particularly through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr McCormack said.

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He said the Government’s decision to increase road user charges on truck drivers by 6 per cent would add to families’ grocery bills as transport companies would not be able to absorb the compounding cost.

Mr McCormack said the Riverina electorate would bear the costs of further cuts to regional infrastructure as Labor abandoned water security projects worth $872.5 million.

He said the Albanese Government had also ordered a review of the $120 billion infrastructure pipeline, putting all regional programs in doubt.

“The very popular Stronger Communities Programme, which delivered $150,000 to every electorate for smaller-scale infrastructure projects up to $20,000 has been scrapped by this Labor Government,” Mr McCormack said.

Mark Jeffreson

Local Labor president Mark Jeffreson says the budget is designed for communities. Photo: Supplied.

“It (Stronger Communities Programme) funded important local projects in the most recent round, such as the netball court upgrades at Maher Oval, upgrades to facilities such as the Country Women’s Association Tarcutta building, the Humula Citizens’ Sports Club and the Junee Roundhouse Museum.

“No new money has been allocated for the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, which I established when I was deputy prime minister.”

Mr McCormack added the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program had been helping councils prioritise projects to ease infrastructure backlogs.

“Labor will also force local communities to wait two years to access regional grant programs, with funding that was available in 2022 under the Coalition now delayed until well into 2024,” he said.

Local Labor Party president Mark Jeffreson told Region Mr McCormack’s comments on the budget being a disappointment to the region were incorrect.

“The Member for Riverina said when he was deputy prime minister and the infrastructure minister things were happening for Riverina but there’s not much evidence of that,” Mr Jeffreson said.

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“And he’s not the deputy prime minister or the minister for infrastructure anymore, he’s the local member of parliament.

“In his view, if there’s nothing for the region then that properly reflects on him as an advocate for the region,” he said.

Mr Jeffreson said the Federal Member should be thinking about what he hasn’t been able to get done for the region.

“If he’s going to stand there blaming councils and other people for all the things he can’t do and hasn’t been able to do … he just wants to stand there and throw rocks, he should go and join the Greens and stick with them.”

Mr Jeffreson said the new budget was designed for communities.

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