During Question time today in the Senate, the Nationals Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, asked Minister Wong about the socio-economic impact of the of the Gillard Government’s carbon tax on regional communities.
“Can the Minister confirm what modelling has been undertaken by the Government to ensure that the $200 million allocated to the Regional Structural Assistance Package will be enough to assist regions affected by the negative impact of this carbon tax?” Senator McKenzie asked.
Minister Wong completely ignored Senator McKenzie’s question, answering with absolutely no reference to how the Regional Structural Assistance Package will actually help regional Australians.
“It was clear the Minister did not understand the legislation or its impacts on regional Australia” Senator McKenzie commented later.
Astonished at the Minister’s complete failure to address her concerns, as well as the Gillard Government’s track record in managing programs for regional Australia, Senator McKenzie asked further questions about how the government would monitor the negative impact of the carbon tax on the lives of ordinary Australians living in regional areas.
“It is difficult to believe that $200 million is going to be enough to support all of the regional industries likely to be financially affected.”
Senator McKenzie said “it seems she just didn’t know the answers. It showed just how out of touch the Gillard Government is.”
“Regional Australia has been forgotten by the Gillard Government in their cosy partnership with the Greens to bring in this insidious carbon tax.”
“Regional Australian jobs will be lost, our industry impacted and small businesses will bear the brunt. This government today has attacked our very way of life,” Senator McKenzie said.
The $200m Regional Structural Assistance package is designed to assist regions adversely affected by the carbon tax. The package is aimed at assisting displaced workers and their families; support for affected small businesses; community development programs; and economic diversification programs.