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Regional Australians are forgotten Australians in Labor’s Budget

About 30 per cent of Australian residents live in rural, regional, and remote areas and enjoy the many positives of that lifestyle.

However, cost of living pressures, access to childcare and health services are making it more and more difficult for people to live out that dream.

Unfortunately, the Labor Government’s Budget, which was handed down last week, has failed to meaningfully address those issues for those already living in regional areas, as well as those considering a tree change.

Under the Government’s watch, persistent inflation, massive increases in energy bills and ten consecutive interest rate rises are pushing family budgets to the brink.

The success of our resource and agricultural sectors was a big reason this government was able to post a budget surplus. Now our farmers are being taxed to pay for their international competitors to bring their products into this country. Meanwhile, family-run transport companies are also being stung with a truckie tax of six per cent compounded each year.

Both of these measures are unjust.

In what parallel universe would any sovereign government tax their own farmers so their foreign competitors can bring their products in?

To think that an Australian Government would put a tax on Australian farmers so they can pay the biosecurity costs of their foreign competitors, to bring their product into this country, is perverse.

The Coalition has committed to scrapping the fresh food tax on farmers, a tax that not just farmers will pay, but households will pay at the grocery store.

Also of major concern in Labor’s Budget was the lack of meaningful action to help regional areas combat health care and childcare shortages.

The Government has failed regional and rural Australia on childcare.

We don’t have an affordability issue. We have an accessibility issue.

Last year, I went to the Labor Government’s Job Summit and made it very clear the $4.7 billion that they’re putting into childcare affordability needed to have some element for childcare accessibility in regional areas.

There’s a cost living crisis for regional Australians, and that’s because they can’t go back to work because they can’t find a place for their children to have childcare.

It is an issue that is limiting the growth of rural, regional, and remote communities and one that requires urgent action.

What we are saying is give regional Australians a fair-go by implementing the programs the former Coalition Government put in place and back those programs with real dollars, to ensure that we are getting those places in regional areas and that families can fight this cost of living crisis.

When it comes to health care, regional Australia got missed in this budget.

They’re raising over $3 billion in cigarette excise. Yet nothing’s going to regional Australia.

In fact, this Labor Government is ripping our doctors away and there are towns in rural and remote areas that are without a doctor because of this government’s actions.

This government’s decision to extend the designated priority areas for foreign doctors from just working in rural and remote areas, to allowing them to work in peri-urban areas, has meant they’re leaving to go to the cities rather than work in rural areas.

Now with the addition of the changes of the PBS, not only will there be challenges for people in rural and remote areas to get access to critical medicines, but we’re also going to see that this government’s asking small businesses, pharmacists, to bear that cost.

If the doctors are gone and if the pharmacy goes, we have no primary care whatsoever. So, the government needs to stop, pause, and understand they need bespoke models for regional and rural Australia.


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