Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton discusses the Budget with Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton has slammed Labor’s first Budget, saying it’s a major blow to our regional communities.
“The biggest loser in this Budget is regional Australia,” Mr Coulton said.
“The slashing of the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) is a devastating loss for communities throughout my electorate. This program injected more than $46 million into the Parkes electorate since it was established, funding projects that are making a real and tangible difference in many of our communities.
“Childcare has been trumpeted as a winner in this Budget, but that is not the case for regional Australia. Childcare affordability is not the main issue for our regional families – accessibility is. Funding rebates does nothing to help those families in the Parkes electorate who are unable to return to work because they can’t access childcare in their town. Of the $4.7 billion in childcare measures, there is no money to create one new childcare facility.
“Families will also be worse off as a result of this Budget, which is in complete contrast to Labor’s election promises. In fact, families will be at least $2,000 worse off by Christmas. Cost of living pressures will only be exacerbated with electricity and gas prices set to rise sharply. Interest rates have already gone up and are predicted to go up a further 75 basis points, which is ripping hundreds of dollars out of households each month.
“Basin communities across the Parkes electorate face the prospect of indiscriminate water buybacks. Despite having no dollars listed, Labor has clearly indicated they are going back to the dark days of water buybacks, in an effort to return 450 gigalitres to South Australia.
“As a former show president, I’m also very disappointed to see the Budget will not proceed with Round 2 of the Agricultural Shows Development Grant program and a partial reversal of the Agricultural Shows and Field Days program. These programs were introduced to help our agricultural shows and field days recover from the impacts of COVID-19, and have kept these important local events from folding.
“After 10 years in opposition, Labor are clearly taking out their frustration on regional Australia, scrapping programs and funding that had significant benefit to the bush.”