Club Cowra

Budget A Disappointment For Cowra Shire Region: Mccormack

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix

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Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack says the recent Federal Budget will hurt those living in regional and rural communities, including those living in Cowra Shire.

The Labor Government’s Budget will introduce a new food tax on Australian families, right in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

Mr McCormack said the new tax on farmers to pay for the biosecurity risk of international importers was senseless and would be passed on to consumers, which meant even higher grocery prices for all Australians.

“It is quite rude that the Labor Government would ask farmers to pay for the biosecurity costs of importers from other countries, especially considering the power of work they do to keep our economy strong, particularly through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr McCormack said.

The Albanese Government is also increasing the road user charge on truckies by 6 per cent, compounding each year, that will add to grocery bills for families, because transport companies can’t absorb that cost. The Riverina electorate will bear the costs to further cuts to regional infrastructure.

Labor has abandoned water security projects worth $872.5 million and have ordered a review to the $120 billion infrastructure pipeline, putting all regional programs in doubt.

“Labor has kicked the funding for Wyangala Dam into the Never-Never,” Mr Mc-Cormack said.

“First of all we have the Federal Government not interested in water infrastructure. It has shelved Dungowan Dam, it has deferred the Wyangala Dam wall-raising project and it will never see the light of day under a Labor Government. “This, coupled with the New South Wales Government Water Minister Rose Jackson stating the State Government is not interested in raising Wyangala Dam wall, it is just going to build better escape routes for residents affected, is insulting on both levels to those whose homes, farms and businesses have been flooded – several times in some instances – downstream of the Wyangala Dam.

“Raising the Wyangala Dam wall by 10 metres would add an additional 650 gigalitres of water storage – the equivalent of Sydney Harbour plus 60,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools for agriculture boosting and flood proofing.

“Central West residents know all too well the Newell Highway closes when there is a significant Lachlan River flooding event, which grinds local communities and economies to a halt and wreaks havoc on our road transport industry which uses this highway – the longest highway in New South Wales – as a major connection to Victoria and Queensland.

“The Treasurer was crowing about the Budget being in surplus but that was on the back of the agriculture sector and the resources sector – many of those who work in these sectors live and raise families in the regions – which was particularly evident through the worst of the COVID pandemic. Their efforts to prop up this nation have been completely ignored in this Budget.

“I am very annoyed this Labor Federal Government has refused to support dam building – this is nothing short of a disgrace.

Mr McCormack was disappointed the popular Stronger Communities Pro-gramme was axed.

“The very popular Stronger Communities Programme, which delivered $150,000 to every electorate for smaller-scale infrastructure projects – up to $20,000 – has been scrapped by this Labor Government,” Mr McCormack said.

“Funding went towards important local projects in previous rounds such as installing outdoor equipment and a shade sail at the Yalbillinga Boori Day Care Centre, upgrading the kitchen, toilet and showers at the Cowra netball courts, a disability inclusive basketball and netball court for the Cowra Information and Neighbourhood Centre and for the purchase of equipment at the Cowra Men’s Shed.

“No new money has been allocated for the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, which I established when I was Deputy Prime Minister. It has been helping councils prioritise projects to ease infrastructure backlogs.” Labor will also force local communities to wait two years to access regional grant programs, with funding that was available in 2022 under the Coalition now delayed until well into 2024.

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