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Macdonald rejects Opposition bush hypocrisy.

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Media Release

Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald

Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government




Labor’s comment on the “Jobs for the Region” report, tabled in the Senate today, were an opportuni stic attempt to exploit bush politics, rather than a serious treatment of long term regional employment issues, the Federal Minister for Regional Services. Territories and Local Government, Senator Ian Macdonald said today.


Senator Macdonald said the Labor comments simply underlined that while the ALP ignored regional Australia in office, they are prepared to talk big in Opposition.


"Labor's words are not supported by their record in Government, nor arc they currently hacked by any realistic or comprehensive policy.”


“The problems the report address have been many years in the making, not the least by the last Labor Government. None have quick fixes but it is the Howard Government that has put the bush back onto the agenda.”


Senator Macdonald said some of the recommendations should embarrass the Labor Party.


“It is ironic that this same Labor Party that contrived to shut down the rural mobile phone system with no replacement when they were in office, would seek to criticise this Government on regional telecommunications.”


"This Government provided for a replacement regional mobile system and has committed over $470 million to regional telecommunications.”


“The Labor Party substituted report producing bureaucracies as a proxy for real Regional Development. Ironically it now recommends, in opposition, that we impose further bureaucracy over Jobs Network as it is showing real and tangible results in employment.”


"I can’t see how another bureaucracy produces any real jobs in regional areas at all.”


"The facts speak for themselves. Under Labor, unemployment hit a record high of

11 %, but the Howard Government has seen unemployment fall to around 7%”


"Under Labor, family farms and regional small businesses were crippled by interest rates upwards of 20%. Under the Coalition those rates are around 6%.”


Senator Macdonald said that there is no question that there are many issues in regional Australia that still need to be addressed, but that there were also many positive signs of improvement in many regional areas arising from sound economic management and new targeted initiatives for country Australia.




Thursday, September, 30 1999


Media Contact: David Moore 02 6277 7060 / 0417 774 724



jk  1999-10-05  11:53