Oakeshott claims he got billions in regional funding refuted

CLAIMS by Independent MP Rob Oakeshott he's responsible for billions of dollars in funding finding their way into regional projects have been refuted by local member Luke Hartsuyker.

When Independents MP's decided which side of the house to support and help form a minority Government, Mr Oakeshott along with New England Independent Tony Windsor demanded a promise of $9 billion for remote, rural and regional areas.

Gaining that promise from Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Labor Party is an achievement which Mr Oakeshott is particularly proud

Mr Hartsuyker said the Independents could be making the same claim today if they'd chosen to support Tony Abbot and the Coalition after the 2010 election.

"It's important to note that the Coalition had an extensive program for regional Australia that we were going to implement," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"He (Oakeshott) has had a discussion allegedly with both sides of politics to decide where he would go and the Coalition had a very expensive proposal with regards to regional Australia and those things which he's delivered would've been delivered under the Coalition as well.

"For him to claim that it is expressly because of him is I think disingenuous."

Mr Hartsuyker said Mr Oakeshott may be quick to point out the benefits of his decisions but fails to highlight the initiative he believe have been to the detriment of his constituents.

"Many people that he represents have been hit hard by higher electricity prices and a major factor in that is the carbon tax that he introduced and he supported and people will have the chance to pass their judgement knowing that he's basically a de facto member of the Labor Party," he said.

It is the relationship that has been built with the left side of politics that galls Mr Hartsuyker and his Coalition colleagues and the Cowper MP believes with good reason.

"People voted for him in the belief that he was a conservative Independent and that in the case such as we have that he would've supported the conservative side rather than Labor," he said.

"I would suggest that if he had made it clear that he would vote for Labor in the case of a hung parliament he wouldn't be the member for Lyne today."

Mr Oakeshott is expected to experience a voter backlash from his constituents when the next federal election is held. Lyne constituents will face a choice between the Independent and National Party candidate Dr David Gillespie.

Mr Hartsuyker said the choice for voters from Port Macquarie, Taree and all parts in between is quite clear.

"If they want to get rid of Labor, they will have to vote for the Nationals candidate. If you vote for Oakeshott, you will get Labor," he warned.

Aside from answering concerns voters have regarding Mr Oakeshott's allegiances, the opposition spokesperson for Regional Communications, Youth and Sport said he has more explaining to do.

"He owes the people of his electorate an explanation as to what his plans are for his so called tax reform push with the GST and what that's going to mean by way of increased costs."

Topics:  luke hartsuyker, regional funding, rob oakeshott



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