Following the announcement by Treasurer Morrison of a reference to the Productivity Commission to conduct a study of regional economies, Laborcalls on the Minister for Regional Development, Senator Nash, to stop dithering and get on with the job of driving economic growth in regions in crisis.
Regional Australia doesn’t need to wait for another study to tell Turnbull Government Ministers that regional economies are bearing the brunt of Australia’s faltering economy.
It would be far more productive for the Treasurer to get on the phone to his Cabinet colleague Senator Nash and asking her to stop dithering and get on with delivering the program that the government already has announced for this very same purpose.
Minister Nash’s media release from 17 June 2016 identified the very same problem the Treasurer has talked about today:
“we recognise that some of our regions are feeling pressure as our economy transitions from the mining construction boom.”
Similar packages were announced in ten locations across Australia as part of this program.
However, six months have gone by since the election and we are yet to even see guidelines for the Coalition’s Regional Jobs and Investment Program.
The Minister for Regional Development is dithering while regional Australia is facing a crisis situation of growing unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, falling infrastructure investment and cuts to services like health and education.
We know that there is growing inequality between urban and regional Australia. For example, a report released just last week by SGS Economics and Planning, Australian Cities Accounts 2015-16, shows that while Sydney prospers, regional NSW is falling further behind.
That report showed that Annual GDP growth in Regional NSW was just 0.4 per cent in 2015-16; eleven times less economic growth in regional areas compared to Sydney; and seven times less economic growth than the Australian average.
We don’t need the Productivity Commission to tell us the regions that are doing it tough. And those regions are not just confined to areas dealing with the end of the mining and resources boom.
Regional Australia’s a frustrated with the inaction from the Minister on this program. They know what the problem is but are losing confidence that anyone in the Turnbull Government is listening to them.
It’s time for action, not more studies.
WEDNESDAY, 14 DECEMBER 2016