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Thursday, 14 September 2023
Page: 48

Ms PRICE (DurackOpposition Whip) (13:45): If you needed evidence of this government's total lack of regard for regional Australia, you need look no further than their decision to end the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. The LRCI Program was an injection of hope for so many regional communities around Australia, when COVID threatened them with grinding to a halt. This coalition lifeline allowed local governments to commit to those shovel-ready projects that had been on their agenda for years but for which they simply didn't have the funds.

One excellent example of that is the Shire of Exmouth's decision to use LRCI funding to upgrade the town beach precinct. This precinct is now a much-loved, much-improved and wonderfully vibrant space that was a real drawcard during the recent eclipse experience.

There are over 40 LGAs in my electorate and, whenever I speak to them, they remind me of how much they appreciated the LRCI Program and how disappointed they are that this lack-of-heart government—that's the way that they put it—has determined to cancel the LRCI Program.

And guess what? The economic conditions are worse today, under this government, than they were during the time of the pandemic. Regional communities are literally on their knees. So it is time that this poor-performing minister got her head out of the sand and made a commitment to regional Australia. And she could start by making sure that we have, once again, the LRCI Program. (Time expired)