Labor welcomes reports today that the Abbott Government is considering a special economic stimulus package aimed at drought-ravaged communities in Queensland and NSW.
Indeed Labor welcomes any admission by the Abbott Government that their drought policy has been a failure.
But I note the funding details are yet to be finalised and it has been proposed the funding would go to local infrastructure projects from annual local government grants.
This is the same Government that cut $925 million in Financial Assistance Grants to regional and local governments for vital road and infrastructure projects, by freezing indexation.
We know this has had a big impact already, forcing Councils to cut back on their road maintenance budgets and other services.
To be now talking about, in effect, returning a small percentage of those cuts as part of a 'stimulus package' just shows you how disastrous the last Budget was.
For example, the Abbott Government’s ill-advised freeze on the indexation of financial assistance grants will see Local Councils in the following Electorates lose over $100 million over the next four years.
New England = -$14,839,326; Maranoa = -$42,580,427; Kennedy = -$27,698,012 and Parkes = -$29,594,038.
Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott are the very same people that opposed Labor economic stimulus which saved hundreds of thousands of jobs during the Global Financial Crisis.
Are they robbing Peter to pay Paul Barnaby? I call on the Government to be honest with drought affected communities about where the money is coming from and when.