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Labor lies will not work in Regional Australia

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M e d i a

R e l e a s e THE HON ALEX SOMLYAY MP Mini tier for Regional Development. Territories and Local Government


The Federal Minister for Regional Development. Alex Somlyay has castigated the Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Simon Crean for pedalling deliberate lies in regional Australia about key election issues, including the access by the bush to vital telecommunications and postal services.

"Labor was totally rejected by the bush 1996. Regional voters are not going to be duped by Labor lies that they can see straight through. Regional people have not forgotten the neglect and contempt dished out by the Keating Government over 13 years.

"Mr Crean is so desperate on day one of this election campaign he has resorted to telling deliberate lies about Coalition policies on telecommunications, postal services and tax," Mr Somlyay said.

He said Mr Crean is guilty of spreading deliberate misinformation to scare rural communities. This is a dishonest and despicable tactic. The reality is the Howard Government Is totally committed to delivering effective communications improvements In regional Australia;

• The universal service obligations for all carriers including Telstra have been nailed down in legislation and if the Senate would cooperate, new laws with punitive $10 million fines for those that fall down on service delivery including new connections and repairs; • By December this year 96% of Australia will be able to access ISDN services allowing for the transmission

of high speed internet and fax data; • Competition among phone companies is increasing in regional areas, reducing costs of calls; • Mobile phone access is being improved for regional consumers and the introduction of the new digital

mobiles is extending coverage in the bush; • More regional centres are using the National Office of the Information Economy to market and promote goods and services using online services and electronic commerce; • The Coalition Government has not dosed post offices and has moved to slow down the deregulation of

postal services in regional and rural Australia; ■ The standard 45 cent letter rate Is committed for the coming three years.

"The Labor Shadow Minister's daim that the Coalition's new tax plan for the new century will make food more expensive in regional and remote areas is a total nonsense. Freight rates are coming down under the Coalition Government, not going up as is the prospect under Labor.

"Simon should read the m essage on the "Tax Cuts Truck1 now travelling regional highways, namely "Cheaper diesel means cheaper goods". For road transport, the fuel excise tax reduces from 43 cents per litre to Just 1Θ cents. This Coalition tax plan will reduce freight costa by θ.7%.

"As transport costs make up 20% of the cost of many household items and fresh produce, this aspect of the tax relief plan will cut costs to consumers.

"The price of petrol used by business will also fall by 7 cents a litre. Labor cannot match these changes to reduce costs and lift exports from regional Australia," Mr Somlyay said.

Ends 2 September 1996

Contati: Graeme Hallett 0419 218 469

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