Catholic Commission pleased with Government commitment to rural roads
The Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission has welcomed the Government's regional roads package as a first step towards meeting the Regional Australia Summit's call for a 'sustained and long-term programme of infrastructure development.'
The Commission was pleased to note the responsibility devolved to local governments in determining where funds are best allocated and the recognition of needs encompassing metropolitan regions.
It said this marked a recognition by Government of the great diversity of regions requiring assistance and helps move debate beyond the divisive 'rural versus metropolitan' distinction.
Mr John Ferguson, Acting National Director, said: "It is to be hoped that following 'listening' tours of rural regions, the Prime Minister and Treasurer are now determined to press on in addressing regional disadvantage, and above all to ensure that regional consequences of structural economic reforms now become central considerations in designing policy - not merely considered as an afterthought.
"The true test of the worth of the Treasurer's listening tour will be whether the litany of disadvantage endured by our nation's regions are meaningfully addressed. High fuel prices and the consequences of drought and flooding are but the latest examples."