Budget is 'confused': Hartsuyker

Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker.
Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker.

LOCAL Federal Member Luke Hartsuyker said Tuesday night's Budget is a major disappointment for North Coast residents.

Mr Hartsuyker said last night that that Pacific Highway funding promised in the budget is not all that it is cracked up to be.

"The devil is in the detail when it comes to additional funding for the Pacific Highway," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"Importantly, there is no additional funding in the next financial year to accelerate work on the highway.

"The budget does set aside $3.6 billion for the nation building program between 2013-14 and 2016-17 to 'enable further major infrastructure projects'.

"That does not necessarily mean the funding will invested in the Pacific Highway.

"The Government only suggests 'this funding could be allocated towards the Pacific Highway duplication'. That funding is conditional on a NSW Government funding contribution.

"We have heard a lot of talk from Rob Oakeshott and Anthony Albanese about Pacific Highway funding, but unless this is an unconditional commitment to the road their talk amounts to nothing more than hot air.

"The Pacific Highway is the most important road project in the nation and it is essential that this funding is quarantined for the highway.

"I have tonight written to Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese requesting him to put politics aside so that the upgrade to the Pacific Highway continues without further unnecessary delays.

"North Coast communities just want Governments to get on with the job of duplicating the road."

Mr Hartsuyker said the Budget was also disappointing because it failed to detail a plan to build a stronger economy, repay debt or create secure jobs.

"It's a confused budget," he said.

"All it delivers is more borrowing, more taxes, record debt - and the world's biggest carbon tax."

The introduction of the Carbon Tax is a major sticking point for Mr Hartsuyker and the rest of his colleagues sitting in opposition.

"Five days before the last election, Julia Gillard promised "there will be no carbon tax under the Government I lead" and this year's Budget 2012 is Australia's first carbon tax Budget," the Member for Cowper recalled.

"The world's biggest carbon tax is about to hit families, jobs and investment at the world's worst time.

"The carbon tax will act as a wrecking ball across the local economy and we will all be paying for it through increased prices, higher energy bills and pressure on local businesses."

Mr Hartsuyker said he was also concerned about the Government's announcement that it will seek to increase Australia's debt ceiling to a record $300 billion - four times higher than it was in 2008.

"This is another increase in our nation's credit card limit," he said.

"We will see net Government debt climb to a record in 2013-14. That is an increase of almost $40 billion since last year's Budget.

"And by 2015-16, the Government will be spending over $8 billion a year or around $22 million a day on interest payments alone.

"We are now paying the price for Labor's four record deficits which together total $174 billion."

Mr Hartsuyker said he was concerned that the Budget papers forecast a rise in unemployment. 

"Last year's Budget promised 500,000 new jobs over two years but the Government now expects to miss its target by 300,000 jobs," he said.

"Meanwhile the Government is cutting $200 million out of jobs services programs."

Mr Hartsuyker said North Coast residents want a Government which can deliver an economic strategy to build a stronger Australia, reduce cost of living pressures and create secure jobs.

"Instead they have a Government mired in chaos and a Prime Minister with no judgment. Tonight Australians will be asking themselves: how long will this one last?"

Topics:  federal budget, luke hartsuyker



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