“The Minns Labor Government is treating our regional communities like second-class citizens”

NSW Nationals

The Minns Labor Government’s second budget has delivered another brutal blow to the bush.

NSW Nationals Leader Dugald Saunders slammed the Treasurer for not showing any consideration or awareness for the needs of regional residents and businesses.

“It’s all well and good for Labor to offer toll relief to benefit people in Sydney, but vital measures like the Regional Seniors Travel Card and the Regional Apprentice and University Student Travel Card didn’t even get a look-in,” Mr Saunders said.

“Cost-of living support programs like those, along with Active Kids, Creative Kids, First Lap and the Back-to-School Vouchers really made a difference to families, who will now miss out on that assistance for another year.”

There is another big cut to the budget of the Department of Regional NSW which has gone from $398m this financial year down to $55m by 2025-2026.

“The Minns Labor Government is treating our regional communities like second-class citizens by axing the projects and programs that allow them to thrive.”

Mr Saunders said our primary producers are also unprotected, with virtually no new money to respond to biosecurity incursions like red imported fire ants, varroa mite, and white spot, putting our food and fibre at risk.

And he said the capacity to respond to emergencies and natural disasters has also been diminished with millions cut out of the Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue, the SES and the Rural Assistance Authority.

“Last year more than $800m was spent for the Rural Assistance Authority to link businesses and regional communities to natural disaster support, but somehow only $31m has been allocated this year.”

“This is a classic example of the government trying to make the numbers look good, without having a buffer if things were to go wrong.

“We’ve seen years of devastating bushfires, floods and drought in NSW, and we will see it again, so it’s ridiculous to think money has been stripped away from the incredible services that help our communities through their darkest days.”

When it comes to education and health, capital investment is going backwards in the bush under Labor.

“Of the so-called ‘new’ regional schools the government included in the budget, all but one of them were already announced in previous years.”

“This budget is all smoke and mirrors and it will leave our regional families and businesses much worse off.”

/Public Release. View in full here.