Minister for Regional Development, John McVeigh MP, must explain why taxpayer funding earmarked to address disadvantage in regional Australia has been used to prop up Liberal and National Party Ministers in inner city electorates.
It beggars belief that a program designed to address regional inequality has been used to fund projects in safe Liberal seats like Kooyong and Warringah.
When regional Australia has some of the worst disadvantage, higher unemployment, and poor broadband and telecommunications, the Coalition has chosen to funnel money to Liberal Ministers in inner city electorates.
Twenty per cent of funding from the National Stronger Regions Fund has been diverted away from disadvantaged regional areas to support electorates with individual incomes far higher than the medium average.
The Minister must explain why these projects have been given priority over those in more disadvantaged electorates across regional Australia.
The National Party needs to look beyond the big hats and start helping the people who are struggling in regional areas.
Here are the facts:
The gap between city and regional Australia is widening.
If you are in the top 20 per cent of income earners then you likely live in one of our capital cities whereas, if you are in the bottom 20 per cent than you are more likely to live outside those capital cities.
Life expectancy in regional Australia is poorer where the median age at death in our capital cities is 82.2 years while, in outer regional areas it drops to 79.2 years and to 73.4 years for remote areas.
The participation gap in secondary education between major cities and outer regional areas is 7.3 per cent and this number grows the further you move from the cities.