Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison fail again.
This budget is ideological, unfair, and extremely conservative. This is another budget that ignores the regions completely. For yet another year, the funding promised for mobile black holes is not there.
For yet another year failed policies like the concessional loans program remain a centrepiece of agriculture policy.
Barnaby Joyce’s relocation pork barrel hits the Agriculture budget for tens of millions of dollars, yet $19.5 million in cuts to the Rural Researchand Development for Profit Program have not been restored. Barnaby’s ‘white elephant’ is being paid for at the expense of agriculture research.
The past four years of rebate freeze have been lifted for hard-pressed rural GPs, but no restoration in funding is in sight. While it won’t be getting worse, there will be no increase in bulk-billing under this government and regions will still get poorer health care than people in the cities.
The centrepiece of this Liberal/National budget is their funding of the Inland Rail project. What they won’t tell you is that this is a Labor project with funding promised and initiated by Labor, and which the Coalition government cut in its first three budgets.
They can undo some of their cuts and expect fanfare for it, but country communities know better than that.