Federal Labor Member for Bass, Ross Hart is disappointed, but not surprised that the Morrison Government is more focused on itself than addressing growing inequality in regional Tasmania.
While the Liberals and Nationals play endless leadership games, Labor have made commitments that will address growing regional inequality and improve the lives of people in communities like George Town and Dorset.
Labor is concerned about growing regional inequality and is determined to fix it by investing in health, skills training and education.
The Morrison Government have cut funding to core public services that regional communities rely on and are driving a gap between regional cities and towns and the major capitals.
The Liberals have cut from Medicare and hospitals in every year since the 2014 Budget and they are cutting $2.8 billion from hospitals between the next election and 2025.
Department of Human Services jobs have been cut from regional locations leading to increased waiting times and less face-to-face services.
The Morrison Government is cutting $17 billion from schools and the cap on university places means that around 10,000 places were not funded in 2018.
In addition, $2.2 billion in cuts has impacted on regional universities, including UTAS.
The Liberals have also cut more than $2.8 billion from TAFE, skills and training. In towns and regional centres across Australia, TAFE campuses have closed, courses have been scaled back and fees have increased.
Labor will improve core services for regional Australians, deliver a net growth in permanent jobs in regional cities and provides a framework for future service improvements and regional job creation through public sector decentralisation.
Labor understands that regional Australians will prosper when they have access to a strong social safety net of public services.
Labor will provide a service guarantee to regional Australia to address inequality through the following specific measures:
· Labor will invest in regional school education through the biggest investment in public schools in Australian history of $14 billion including $3.3 billion in the first three years. Nearly half of the increased funding for the first three years will go to public schools in rural and regional Australia.
· Labor will establish a new National Preschool and Kindy Program, guaranteeing every three and four year old access to quality early education. Labor is committing to the biggest ever investment in kindy and preschool for every three and four year old in Australia. This isn’t just a huge boost to the development of our kids – it’s an investment in the economic future of our Nation. This program will benefit around 250,000 children in regional Australia.
· Labor will restore 1200 jobs that provide core services to regional Australia – in Centrelink – with a focus on restoring these jobs into locations of high need.
· Labor will invest in regional hospitals as part of the $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund – increasing core funding, investing in urgent infrastructure projects and bringing down emergency department, elective surgery and outpatient wait times.