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It's now official: the Office of Northern Australia isn't.



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Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald Parliamentary Secretary for Northern Australia Liberal Senator for Queensland

MEDIA RELEASE

It’s now official - the Office of Northern Australia isn’t.

Questioning at Senate Estimates has confirmed that Labor hype on the Office of Northern Australia is nothing more than spin and pre-election rhetoric.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Northern Australia, Senator Ian Macdonald, said officials had confirmed that existing offices of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development in Townsville and Darwin would simply be re-badged as the Office of Northern Australia.

“The staff will remain the same, the office location will remain the same, the money will remain the same - only the name will change,” said Senator Macdonald.

“The Budget for the Office of Northern Australia will simply cover the current cost of running the previous Branch Offices of the Department, plus the travel and accommodation costs of the Northern Taskforce and departmental running costs.”

“There is no money for the huge public investment needed in the North.”

“Again the Labor Party have proved masters at spin but minnows at policy,” said Senator Macdonald.

“While cancelling many programs of the previous Government that actually put money into Northern Australia, the Rudd Government has been noticeably silent with real action in the North. And there was never any matching of the previous Government’s promise of money for Stage 2 of the Ord Scheme.”

“Yet again, the Rudd Government has made it quite clear that the development of regional Australia, particularly in the North is not on their agenda,” said Senator Macdonald.

Media Contact: Troy Reeves (07) 4771 3066 21 October 2008