Queensland Senator Matt Canavan has accused the Labor party of being “city-centric” and refusing to support regional Australia.
“The Labor party have revealed at Senate estimates this morning that they don’t want agencies in the Department of Agriculture to move to the regions,” Senator Canavan said.
“It all makes sense: Labor are city-centric. They don’t understand the importance of regions to the Australian economy and the Australian quality of life, and they won’t support them,” Senator Canavan said.
“Labor Senator Doug Cameron has used his time in the Rural and Regional Affairs Committee to raise concerns about the cost impact of moving agencies from Canberra to the regions.
“He completely ignored all the benefits of moving frontline agencies out to the front line.
“For example, Ag Department officials tried to list some of the benefits of moving services to the regions but Mr Cameron cut them off and described the potential relocation of agencies to regional areas as ‘pork barrelling’.
“He refused to listen to these benefits, stating: ‘I’m not interested in your political view on this, quite frankly.’
"Though the benefits of any move may be nothing more than politics to Mr Cameron, they are not to all the millions of people and the businesses that are located outside of Canberra.”
Senator Canavan said Labor was suffering long-term decline in regional areas.
“The party that was formed under a tree in Barcaldine have now retreated to the narrow enclaves that are lit up at night and can be seen from the International Space Station.
“By contrast, The Nationals believe that we should have a proportion of regulatory agencies based in regions. Those regulators that have their impact in the regions should live and work in the regions.
“That will help foster a more facilitative approach from regulators. We need our regulators to roll out the red carpet, not the red tape.
“I fully support the move from the Minister for Agriculture to relocate agencies to the regions. There needs to be more of it.”