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Regional NSW still waiting after State Budget



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REGIONAL NSW STILL WAITING AFTER STATE BUDGET Page 1 of2"

Other Media Statements [Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government] [Minister for Transport and Regional Development]

M e d i a

[Michael Ronaldson, Parliamentary Secretary] [Departmental]

R e l e a s eTHE HON ALEX SC Minister for Regional Development, Territories and 1 S57/98 4 June 1998

R EG IO N AL N SW STILL W AITING A FTER STATE BUDGET

The Federal Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, Alex Somlyay, is surprised and disappointed that the best NSW ALP Minister for Regional Development and Regional Affairs, Harry Woods can achieve is $ 18m over three years from the Carr State Budget for regional centres in NSW.

The NSW Government Budget papers announce $18m in funding for programmes created under the Regional Directions Statement: Rebuilding Country NSW.

"This is a paltry amount when the NSW Labor Government had $4.8 billion in untied Federal general purpose payments to play with in the interests of infrastructure and other regional development projects across the state. The NSW Labor Government has made its Budget allocation and regional NSW did not figure very well in gaining funding. The 1998-99 Federal Budget demonstrated the Government's commitment to regional Australia," said Mr

Somlyay.

"The Federal Government is spending well over $3.5 billion on specific programmes designed to benefit regional Australia. In fact $3.2 billion in Coalition initiatives did not exist under the Keating/Beazley Labor Government.

"These include the Regional Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund, Federation Fund, Natural Heritage Trust, Advancing Agriculture, Supermarket to Asia, RONI's, the Roads of National Importance and the reintroduction of the road blackspots programme abandoned by Labor.

"A detailed breakdown of a number of the Government's major programme initiatives confirms that the interests of regional Australia are at the forefront of the Government's thinking. Our strategy for regional Australia is to ensure that each Federal portfolio has a regional focus; a strategy that is delivering real money to regional NSW," Mr

Somlyay said.

"For example, over $805 million of the $1,200 million we are providing in financial assistance grants to local government is being provided to councils in regional Australia. In 1997/98 of the $392m to NSW some 69% or $272m went to regional areas in that state.

"The Government is spending over $700 million per year directly on roads in rural and regional Australia. This represents over 88% of our total expenditure on roads. NSW received one third of the total $1.62 billion allocated for roads in the Federal Budget that Mr Woods was so keen to criticise. The NSW share is $545.18 million with the capacity to create 8,000 new jobs in regional NSW," said Mr Somlyay.

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Further information: Graeme Hallet (Minister's Office) 02-6277 7060

http://www.dot.gov.au/media/somlyay/1998/s57_98.htm 16/10/1998