"Liberal city focus squeezes region" - The Sorell Times

THE Liberals like to claim that they represent the regions while Labor only cares about the inner cities.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is the Liberals who for eight years have been leaving regional Australia behind.

But you don’t have to take my word for it – we have evidence from the Australian National Audit Office.

On Tuesday, October 19, the ANAO revealed that since 2018, more than half of what were supposed to be “regional” grants have gone to projects in major cities.

The story gets worse for rural and remote communities.

In total, 3682 “regional” grants went to major city projects, compared to just 309 projects in “remote” or “very remote” communities.

Under the Liberals, the bigger the city, the bigger the chance of receiving “regional” grant money.

Smaller communities, which include the vast majority Tasmanian regions, simply missed out.

These ANAO findings follow hot on the heels of evidence that 90 per cent of Building Better Regions grants in the latest $300 million round went to seats held by Morrison government MPs, or to seats they are targeting.

Three Lyons projects received a total of $4 million while the Government-held Mallee in Victoria received $37.3 million for 33 projects.

Lyons is a sizeable regional electorate but received about 10 per cent of the funding of a comparable electorate held by the government.

That’s simply not right. But we’ve known for a long time that the Morrison Government always leaves Tasmanians behind.

Tasmanian regions are suffering chronic GP shortages and chronic housing shortages, with no answers offered from the Morrison government.

Tasmanian young people are being locked out of training and higher education opportunities, which are increasingly out of reach. Tasmanians deserve better.

Since my election in 2016 I have campaigned to rebuild our regions.

For too long our regions have been hollowed out, with essential services and government agencies centralising into big cities or automating and forcing people online.

I want essential services and government agencies back in our regions, with people the focus.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask that a pensioner should be able to walk into a Centrelink to get help from a well trained and helpful public servant.

This cruel and inhuman practise of forcing people onto self-help desks, or making them wait for hours on a phone, has gone too far.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese understands the importance of regions.

They are at the centre of his plan to rebuild Australia, with more manufacturing, more apprenticeships, more new energy projects and more affordable housing.

Labor has a plan for a future that’s “Made in Australia”, and made in Australia’s regions.

We will heal our divided nation. And we will bring Australians together again.