Coalition called to listen to rural and regional Australians over Jobs and Investment Package
Posted November 28, 2016
Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (13:30): I call on the coalition to walk the talk of listening to communities, avoiding duplication and respecting the local knowledge and experience of the leaders in rural and regional Australia.
The case in point: on Monday, in the Federation Chamber, the member for Murray referred to the $20 million promised during the election campaign to the Hume region under the jobs and investment fund. He told us how he called a special meeting of 13 LGAs, who all came together to add their advice to the $20 million jobs and investment fund that has been put forward by the minister, Senator Fiona Nash.
What I want to say to the coalition is that the member for Murray did not say that there is already a Commonwealth government advisory body that is commissioned to provide advice on jobs and investment. This is the Hume RDA, which has representatives from LGAs, government, business, industry and community. The chair of the Hume RDA has specifically communicated with the government, and me, to say that the RDA is the ideal body, already set up and already operating, to provide advice on this program. But, sadly, it has been ignored. Another meeting was held and more community people's time was wasted.
Recently, in a speech to the Press Club, the Minister for Regional Development lauded our rural leaders and said how pragmatic they are. My message to the coalition is this: do not ignore local advice and experience. Listen to these very pragmatic rural communities, reconsider the wasteful duplication of advisory bodies, and start acting on local priorities
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