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Budget 2008: Labor's first budget a fizzer for regional Australia.

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Media Contact: Rachel Sherman 0408 019 537 Website:

MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon Sandy Macdonald Senator for NSW


Labor has shown their true colours in their first budget, with little to benefit residents of rural and regional NSW, Nationals Senator Sandy Macdonald said tonight.

"More than $1 billion has been stripped from programs which have been assisting regional Australia over the past 12 years," Senator Macdonald said.

"The Regional Partnerships and Growing Regions programs have been rebadged as the Better Regions initiative, with more $260 million slashed from the funding pot."

"Funding for road and rail projects is short $10 billion compared to the Coalition's commitments and the Labor Government has made no new announcements on how it plans to provide greater access to broadband internet services for those Australians living outside metropolitan areas."

"Treasurer Swan said this budget is about helping the working families of Australia - yet he has done nothing to ease the strain of supermarket prices or petrol prices, which Mr Rudd promised during the election campaign."

Senator Macdonald said he also fears hospital waiting lists will be under pressure because of Labor's plans to increase the income threshold of the Medicare levy surcharge.

"The Coalition worked hard to ensure more Australians were covered under private health care, easing the strain on the public system," he said.

"Treasurer Swan has said this budget combats inflation, yet for most Australians, they will end up spending more because of the increase in the costs of cars, alcohol, energy and their private health insurance," Senator Macdonald said.

Ends….13 May 2008