One year on and the National Party Leader Barnaby Joyce has little to hang his hat on.
Flanked by his National Party colleagues, today Barnaby Joyce arrogantly celebrated the so called achievements of the National Party “improving the quality of life” and “fairly treating” rural and regional Australians.
The Nationals sell themselves as a Party for the bush, but time and time again they fail to genuinely stand up for the people they claim to represent.
Do the Nationals think its fair hundreds of Queensland landholders, business owners and the wider community faced months of anxiety and stress over the threat of farms being compulsorily seized due to the expansion of the Singaporean Defence training area in Shoalwater Bay?
Do the Nationals think it’s fair that for three years, hundreds of struggling farmers have faced stressful and lengthy delays when applying for the shambolic Farm Household Allowance and concessional loans which are hard to secure and of little use?
The obvious answer is no.
But we continue to see Barnaby Joyce speaking about the ongoing dairy crisis and boasting that, “We went into bat for them, we made sure we looked after them and we make sure they we treated fairly.”
The city-country divide has grown worse on the Turnbull-Joyce Government’s watch. In the regions their 2014 Budget cuts cut deepest.
Yet Barnaby Joyce continues to claim credit for drought-induced high cattle prices but takes no responsibility for those that have fallen.
After trying to abolish the Inspector General for Biosecurity, Barnaby Joyce has dropped the ball on a serious biosecurity issue -White Spot - which threatens to cripple the Australian prawn industry.
The National Party continues to sell Barnaby Joyce’s pork barrel as the miracle solution to boosting regional economies but beyond the relocation of his ministerial office from Sydney to Armidale, he has produced no real plan to grow regional jobs. Worse, the forced relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to Barnaby Joyce’s own electorate threatens productivity of the agriculture sectors and poses real risks to human and animal health.
We know that farmers and growers are struggling to secure seasonal labour because of the Government’s backpacker tax debacle.
The Government completed Labor’s three “free trade agreements” but under their negotiation’s exporters are struggling to secure market access due to technical barriers. In 2015/16, Agrifood exports to the US and Japan were down. Agri-food exports across the board grew by 1.5 per cent in value terms while imports grew by 10 per cent.
Further, the National Party claims credit for the Sky Muster Satellite service, an initiative of Labor’s which the Coalition originally steadfastly opposed.
When it comes to delivering high-quality broadband services to households and businesses outside of our major cities the Coalition has failed dismally again and again.
As Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull was initially opposed to the use of satellite technology, describing Labor’s satellite plan as a “Rolls-Royce” communications system.
He later changed his tune on the use of satellites bringing broadband services to remote areas, but under his watch problems have continued to emerge.
Labor continues to hold Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce to account by developing strong policy for rural and regional Australia and is committed to standing up for everyday Australians.
The truth is that twelve months under Barnaby Joyce’s leadership has been anything but a happy experience for rural and regional Australia.