Coulton’s Catch-up 27th June
The Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) provides free and confidential financial counselling to primary producers and agriculturally dependent small businesses. The service is jointly funded by the Federal and State Governments and employs more than 110 people throughout Australia. The assistance these counsellors provide is important and valuable to regional and rural communities.
Two weeks ago the Central West RFCS announced that they will be forced to put off up to 12 staff members and close the Gilgandra office from July 1 this year, as the result of a funding shortfall of up to $800 000.
I have received numerous letters, phone calls and emails from residents in Gilgandra who were concerned with the closure of the office and the subsequent loss of their counsellor. I was pleased to receive news last week that the Gilgandra Shire Council will to provide additional funding for the Gilgandra RFCS. This will enable the service to remain open for five days a week, for three months. At the end of this period, I am hopeful that when the State Government hands down their budget in September, they will have funding allocated for the service.
I have written to the Minister for Agriculture Senator Joe Ludwig to make him aware of this issue. I have also met with his senior adviser to discuss the matter as the Minister was in Indonesia handling the live export issue.
I am a big supporter of the RFCS and I understand the importance of the service they provide to our farmers and small businesses.
It has now been 365 days since Julia Gillard removed Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister, promoting herself to the top job, without the consent of the Australian people. Julia Gillard’s list of achievements for her first year as Prime Minister are few and far between. It is becoming increasingly clear that Julia Gillard does not have a plan for Australia; she only has a plan to keep herself in power.
Under Julia Gillard, the bad policies continue to live on. The policy that will cause the most damage to Australia will be Julia Gillard’s carbon tax. The Government has yet to release details of the carbon tax, even though it will be implemented from July next year. However, what we do know is that for every single one of us the cost of living will go up. Driving to the supermarket will become more expensive, as will the food you intend to purchase. Every Australian now faces the prospect of even higher household bills, while many will also have to live with uncertainty over the security of their jobs.
From July 1 the Greens take control in the Senate and it will be increasingly difficult to defeat the carbon tax in Parliament. I worry about the impact on regional Australia of the conflicting agendas within the government and a Senate controlled by Labor and the extreme Greens.
The biggest threat to regional Australia comes from the Greens, who have threatened to use their alliance with Labor to destroy the regions with a series of irresponsible policies such as a vastly bigger mining tax, a giant carbon tax and death duties.