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Anderson gives priority to local roads and mobile phones.

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22 June 2000 A98/2000


National Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson, today said that governments would need to give higher priority to investing in infrastructure in the future.

He put local roads and national mobile phone coverage at the top of the priority list.

"Greater investment in infrastructure is required so that Australia can secure the viability and competitiveness not just of rural and regional Australia, but of the nation as a whole and provide a stronger platform for regional development," he said.

"Governments of all levels will need to improve infrastructure and new policies will need to be found to encourage greater private sector investment because the needs are beyond the capacity of governments to pay."

Mr Anderson said it was impossible to ignore the deterioration of local roads and bridges in country areas and it was patently obvious that local government did not have the resources to meet the community’s needs.

"When studies are showing that current spending on local roads by the three tiers of government is meeting only around 50% of need, something needs to be done.

"There are not any easy answers, but I am looking very closely at what role the Commonwealth can reasonably be expected to play in meeting this challenge."

Mr Anderson said last year’s Regional Australia Summit had identified the extension of mobile telephone coverage across the whole of Australia as its number one priority.

He said this priority was shared by the National Party and his parliamentary team would continue to work within the government to deliver this important outcome for rural, regional and remote Australians.

"Our objective is simple - we want all rural Australians to have affordable and reliable access to world class telecommunications services, and mobile phones top the list."

Media Contact: Paul Chamberlin: (02) 6277 7680 / (0419) 233 989

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Thursday, 22 June 2000