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The Nationals WA Candidate for the Senate, Kado Muir, has hit out at WA’s senators for failing to stand up for their state as the Federal Budget was revealed last night.
Mr Muir said a paltry GST return, no new regional infrastructure projects and a failure to back away from the controversial Backpacker Tax painted a poor picture for Western Australia at the Federal Budget.
“What it tells me is that we have 12 senators who aren’t listening to the people of WA and who aren’t doing their jobs,” Mr Muir said.
“We’re seeing a $2.9 billion infrastructure investment into western Sydney, but no new big ticket items for regional WA and no changes to WA’s dismal GST returns.”
Mr Muir said WA was missing out on billions because of WA Senators who continued to toe the Party Line in Canberra and failed to represent the best interests of their home-state.
“You can rest assured that I’ll be taking a very pro-Western Australian view to Canberra and fighting to make sure WA’s interests are actually taken into account in Federal Parliament.”
Mr Muir said a failure to address the Backpacker Tax would have a severe impact on regional communities which benefited from the seasonal workforce the international backpacker community provided.
“You don’t need to go far in regional WA to find a backpacker working behind the counter at a local bar or coffee shop or helping out on the farm.
“Regional WA truly benefits from an international workforce and I’m disappointed our Federal Senators chose not to listen to the views of their home-state and reject this poorly-conceived initiative.”
Mr Muir said he also held concerns regarding the new youth unemployment strategy and the deregulation of university courses.
“While it’s great to see programs that will encourage young people into the workforce, it won’t help if there aren’t any jobs for them to do. We really need to be looking at job creation for many regional communities.
“Regional students already have many, many financial barriers in terms of accessing university, and any move to increase those financial barriers should be met with a fair amount of scrutiny,” Mr Muir said.
“I’d hate to think that we could create a situation where we actually made it harder for regional students to become doctors or engineers by restricting university access for low-income earners.’
Mr Muir said the budget was not all doom-and-gloom, and he welcomed a number of initiatives, in particular, the inclusion of the Gascoyne Region in the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Bill.
“This was really just a common sense move and I’m glad to see the Gascoyne included in this initiative after being left off of earlier submissions.”
“The expansion of the National Disability Insurance Scheme trial in Western Australia, particularly in regional areas, will also be well received.”
Mr Muir also welcomed funding to upgrade the Bureau of Meteorology super computer, which will deliver more accurate weather information to the agricultural sector.
“This builds on work already undertaken by The Nationals WA in State Government to expand the weather station network.”
Extra funding has also been made available in the Federal Budget for the ABC, with a focus on regional and rural newsrooms.
“Regional media outlets do play an important role ensuring local issues are heard and put on the agenda. They’re a valuable tool for the community, and I’m pleased to see some modest funding going towards ABC’s rural and regional networks.”