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Where's the Cabinet Minister from the Regions, Julia?

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Media Contact Paul Chamberlin mob 0419 233 989 ph 02 6277 4482

12 September 2010

Where’s the Cabinet minister FROM the regions, Julia?

Labor has again failed to appoint a regional MP to Cabinet, proving yet again the contempt the ALP holds for regional areas and the more than seven million Australians who call them home.

The Leader of The Nationals, Warren Truss, said Prime Minister Gillard had been given the chance of a lifetime to appoint someone to Cabinet who lived outside a major city, but either arrogantly rejected the opportunity or could not find anyone with enough talent.

"It appears Labor’s much talked about new approach to the regions is nothing more than swapping the regional affairs job from one MP who lives in inner Sydney to another who lives in inner Melbourne," Mr Truss said.

"The same for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - a Sydney minister has been replaced by one from Brisbane. The same inner city Sydney minister is handling Infrastructure and Transport.

"The new ministers are the same as the old - they were part of the same Labor Cabinet that slashed billions for rural and regional programs.

"Labor has been under constant criticism for not having Cabinet ministers from the capital cities - the response is to appoint one from Australia’s seventh largest city, Newcastle.

“You have to go all the way down the list of Labor frontbenchers to the name of an obscure new parliamentary secretary before the word ‘education’ appears. So much for the so-called ‘education revolution’; expect more Labor decisions like the dreadful and draconian cuts to the Independent Youth Allowance which so hurt country students.

"Under the Coalition, roughly a third of shadow cabinet members live in the regions. When in government, regional services or regional development has always been a Cabinet level job, and the regions have always at been at the forefront of Coalition decision-making.

"It has taken the political scare of Labor’s life for it to say it is finally going to take the regions seriously. But at the very first test, Labor has failed in the most miserable manner," Mr Truss said.