Cut the cost of living not the New England Budget

03rd May 2023

Federal Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said this week that the Albanese Labor Government must not strip any more nation-building road, rail, and infrastructure funding in its May Budget for Regional Australia and the New England.
Mr Joyce said that Labor’s October Budget cut $9.6 billion from infrastructure programs, $7 billion from projects to build dams and $10 billion in regional development programs.
“We know from the Senate Estimates that the New England Highway Tenterfield Heavy Vehicle Bypass construction completion has been delayed by 3 years, and as a consequence will blow out cost from $20 to $66 million.
“Every time a project has its funding deferred and its delivery delayed by Labor, the cost of delivering the project goes up, and Australians are left paying the price through higher taxes.
“The Tenterfield to Newcastle (New England Hwy) Future Priorities Funding has also been cut by $30 million and the Port Stephens Cutting upgrade has been delayed by 1 year with the project budget slashed by $3 million. This can only mean less of a project will hit the Cutting.
“Infrastructure projects such as Dungowan Dam must go ahead. The development of the Dam is an absolute priority for the people of New England. We know what it is like to not have water, just as all Regional Australians do, and the cities will feel it too. When we have less water we have less jobs and crops, that means a further increase in the cost of living,” said Mr Joyce.