Labor’s Shadow Minister for Regional Communications, Local Government and Territories, Stephen Jones, says in lead up to next month’s Budget, Tasmanian families will be seeking assurance that the Turnbull Government understands their need for health, education and other regional services and that they won't have to bear the impact of further cuts to these sectors.
“The Turnbull Government has so far shown it’s completely out of touch with the lives of every day Australians. The coming budget should be a forward step in addressing inequality and giving regional Australians a fair go,” Mr Jones said.
"The answer to inequality starts with a job and despite the big talk from Coalition Ministers, to date there's been little action.”
“Over 22 per cent of families in Devonport, with children under 15 are jobless. That’s staggeringly high, especially when you compare it to somewhere like Woollahra in Mr Turnbull's electorate where it’s around 7 per cent,” Mr Jones said.
Shadow Minister for Regional Services Stephen Jones will today join Federal Member for Braddon Justine Keay in Devonport for a forum on regional inequality to discuss these issues.
“More than 50 people have registered to attend today’s event, which highlights that people are concerned about the difference between what is available in larger cities compared to regional areas like Braddon,” Ms Keay said.
“I expect a number of issues will be raised today particularly relating to access to health, education, employment and training.”
Mr Jones said regional inequality was a key issue for this years’ Budget, and it needed to be a key focus for the Government.
“People in regional areas are suffering the brunt of rental stress because incomes are around $40,000 a year lower in areas like North West and West Tasmania, compared to the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.
“If you live in someone like Devonport, over 30 per cent of people are struggling with rental stress, compared to around 12 percent in Woollahra.
Ms Keay said she will work closely with Mr Jones and her state Labor colleagues following today’s forum to ensure the community’s ideas were included as part of Labor’s state and federal policy development process.
The forum follows the success of a recent regional inequality forum on the West Coast earlier this month, which resulted in a number of ideas to improve the local economy put on the agenda.