The Albanese Labor Government has broken the hearts of regional and rural families in its first Budget.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese promised if he won government, there would be “no one held back, no one left behind.”
But in Labor’s first Budget, the 30 per cent of Australians who live in regional and rural areas have been held back and left behind in three key areas – cost of living, childcare, and infrastructure.
Cost of living
Nationals Leader David Littleproud said the drastic increases in grocery bills were man-made by Labor and the Budget would make the average family worse off by at least $2,000 by Christmas.
“Groceries are eight per cent higher, not just because of natural disasters, but also by a Labor-made disaster in scrapping the Ag Visa. Supply has been slashed because farmers and processors are only working at around 60 per cent capacity, which has put prices up at the checkout,” Mr Littleproud said.
Energy prices are already up 20 per cent this year and predicted to increase by a further 30 per cent next year, while the $275 promised by Labor to reduce electricity bills is now gone.
“Interest rates have already gone up and are predicted go up a further 75 basis point under Labor, which is ripping hundreds of dollars out of households each month.
“Every time Australians get their grocery receipt, their power bill or mortgage statement, they should see Anthony Albanese’s face on it, because he’s the one who is costing them more.”
Labor’s Budget has clearly turned its back on families desperate to find regional and rural childcare places.
While the Treasurer announced $4.7 billion in childcare measures, he couldn’t create one new additional childcare place, leaving regional and rural families no better off.
“Childcare affordability is not the main issue for regional families – accessibility is. The Nationals warned the government at the Jobs and Skills summit and because they didn’t listen regional women, in particular, have been left behind.”
Mr Littleproud said regional and rural families had a right to feel heartbroken.
“Labor said it was a family-friendly Budget but only if you live in a capital city.
This is not the Australian way. This is not what we were promised.”
Labor’s Budget has ripped regional Australia’s future from them, by taking away the tools they need to grow and produce Australia’s food and fibre.
Mr Littleproud said it would put more pressure on cost of living.
“Taking $4.6 billion away in dam funding not only takes away opportunity, it takes away flood mitigation to regional communities, which just doesn’t make sense.”
Multibillion-dollar programs have been scrapped, including the Energy Security and Regional Development Plan, Regional Accelerator Program, Community Development Grants Program and Building Better Regions Fund.
“These programs supported small councils that don’t have the capacity to build local infrastructure that was critical to regional communities. Labor’s solution is to replace it with a few hundred million. These are the scraps of a Budget, designed more at getting Victorian Premier Dan Andrews re-elected than giving all Australians opportunity.
“Labor has ripped the guts out of regional and rural Australia. Their terrible policies are creating enormous damage. Labor has broken the promises, broken the hearts and broken the bank balances of regional and rural families.
“Treasurer Chalmers keeps talking about families around the kitchen table – those families now face the reality that when it comes to their dinner discussion, they are alone. Labor has abandoned them and stolen their future on the way out.”