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Anderson's admission of failure: nothing 'quiet' about the revolt in the regions.

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Martin Ferguson, Sue Mackay - Anderson's Admission Of Failure - Nothing Quiet About The Revolt In The Regions //media/0801/mfsmmsja290801.html

Thursday, 30 August 2001

Anderson's Admission Of Failure -Nothing 'Quiet' About The Revolt In The Regions Martin Ferguson, Shadow Minister for Regional Development, and Sue Mackay, Shadow Minister for Regional Services

Joint Media Statement - 29 August 2001

The Deputy Prime Minister's statement today is an admission of the Government's failure in regional Australia.

John Anderson is right about a revolution - his Government's failure to deliver for people in regional Australia has driven a revolt that is likely to sweep the National Party aside.

If this statement is a 'quiet revolution' for regional Australia, John Howard and John Anderson are clearly not listening.

Mr Anderson has admitted he was wrong on competition policy, and that he was wrong on regional development.

Mr Anderson has been wrong for five and a half years, and two months before an election, he is trying to convince people he has learned his lesson.

After five and a half years, the Howard-Anderson Government has conceded that its 'hands-off' approach to regional development has failed too many people and communities.

Labor regards this statement as the Government's regional election policy, and we will be announcing our election policy in due course.

Labor maintains that regional development must be a core objective of government, and that the public interest test under National Competition Policy must work for people and communities.

But Mr Anderson's support for the privatisation of Telstra and deregulation of Australia Post confirms that he still doesn't get it.

Labor welcomes the belated regional development support, but the Howard Government is putting back

less than $30m per year while it currently wastes $20m per month on government advertising.

Having previously cut over $200m per year from regional development, the Government's priorities are clearly distorted.

It is spending more on government advertising in the six months leading up to the election than it is proposing for regional development in the next four years.

Unlike the Howard-Anderson Government, Labor believes that people are more important than politics.

Unlike the Howard-Anderson Government, Labor thinks that education, health and jobs are more important than tax cuts for the rich.

Unlike the Howard-Anderson Government, Labor believes that we need to plan for our infrastructure development - through a National Infrastructure Council.

Unlike the Howard-Anderson Government, Labor believes that services in regional communities depend on governments being committed to Telstra and Australia Post, rather than further privatisation and deregulation.

Unlike the Howard-Anderson Government, Labor thinks that the banks have responsibilities to the people and communities they serve.

Unlike the Howard-Anderson Government, Labor thinks that Commonwealth, State and local governments need to work together through CoAG.

Today, the Government has tried to play catch up on regional development and National Competition Policy.

John Anderson says there is a quiet revolution afoot in regional Australia. In two months time, he will see that the regional backlash is more than a quiet revolution. Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.