The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie has branded the Federal Budget a failure, especially for central Victorians.
“Life under Labor is about to get a lot harder and more uncertain as Bendigo prepares for the world’s biggest carbon tax on July 1,” she said.
“Every sector of the town’s economy will be punished by the carbon tax – destroying industries and costing jobs.
“There are around 4,200 registered businesses in Bendigo. Of those, 3,500 are small businesses with 10 employees or less.
“It’s township-typical of many regional centres. People I speak to don’t want hand outs, they don’t want compensation for what the carbon tax will do… nothing can compensate you for a lost job.
“People here just want to be able to get on with their businesses and jobs with confidence. The Budget sweeteners won’t last. But what does linger is the reality that this government has no plan to boost productivity, repay ballooning debt and secure jobs.
“Labor’s latest porky was revealed on Tuesday night when Wayne Swan took an axe to promised company tax cuts in the budget.
“Getting freight to and from central Victoria will see families paying more at the checkout as the Gillard Government increases the heavy vehicle user charge by $166 million next year – up $700 million over four years. Bendigo families will feel that pain.
“Key manufacturing, food processing, and grower businesses in the region will all feel the financial strain of trying to move their goods across the country.
“Julia Gillard says she wants Australia to be the food bowl of Asia, but then she imposes extra costs that make Australia’s farmers less competitive.”
Senator McKenzie added Labor also missed the opportunity to use the budget to boost the quality of higher education for Bendigo and surrounding districts.
“Bendigo’s LaTrobe University has almost 5,000 local and international students, but Labor is spending less money per student,” she said.
“More students are seeking a tertiary education but under the uncapped system, the Gillard Government has failed to provide the necessary additional resources.
“Central Victorians wanted to see signs of a coherent economic strategy in this Budget, instead they got shifty money shuffles and spiralling debt.”