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Funding for bush under threat – Dugald Saunders

New NSW Nationals Leader and Member for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders said vital funding was under threat and the Labor government did not understand bush communities. Photo supplied

Fears the NSW Labor government did not understand the bush were justified, according to Nationals leader and Member for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders.

Mr Saunders said vital funding was under threat and the government was not connecting with regional communities.

He also had the Independent Member for Barwon, Roy Butler, in his sights, saying he was now effectively the ‘Labor member for Barwon’, who would almost always side with the government.

Mr Saunders said a raft of funding programs was likely to be scrapped, including the Active Kids vouchers, travel concessions for university students and trainees, and the Regional Growth Fund. He warned that the billions of dollars secured for the bush under the Coalition government were now at risk.

“All the things we have seen for the past eight years are under threat, because there is the risk that with the budget under pressure, this government is using those funds to prop up union promises and as a result of the wage cap being lifted,” Mr Saunders said.

“As leader of the Nationals I want to make sure people across rural and remote NSW are represented as they need to be, particularly as we are now in Opposition with a government that doesn’t have a great track record in the bush.

“In Opposition, we are here to make sure the voices of country NSW people are still being heard. We know this government is not connecting with rural communities, despite the suggestions they are.

“For example, there have been suggestions they will not support the Active Kids and Creative Kids vouchers or the Regional Apprentice and Trainee travel card. That scheme provides $250 vouchers for uni students and apprentices in remote communities where there is no public transport and with cost-of-living pressures, it is a really important scheme to maintain. […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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