Rural and regional Australians
For many Australians, living in a rural and regional area is not only a way of life, it informs the very core of their identity.
Regional and rural Australians provide much of the food we eat and the fibres we wear; they work in the industries that produce export income to help our economy thrive.
Like all Australians, those in the bush are resilient, self-reliant and aspirational – but they’re also hit harder than most by unexpected events.
Earlier this year, nature flung its worst at North Queenslanders, and they are demonstrating their resilience and strong character as they rebuild and recover.
The government’s focus is on assisting local communities to continue that recovery.
Though we would all like it to be otherwise, drought conditions are not expected to ease in the short term. One of the first orders of business of this 46th Parliament will be to legislate the $3.9bn Future Drought Fund.
That funding must be a priority to help better manage drought, protect our valuable rural industries and the people who make them possible.
My government will also introduce a new suite of measures to support farmers, their families and rural communities to continue to battle drought, floods and natural disasters.
Concessional loans will be available for re-stocking and replanting to help farmers bounce back when the rain returns.
And the farm asset threshold will be permanently raised to $5m to allow more people to access the farm household allowance.
My government wants to encourage new farmers. That’s why it is establishing a new concessional loan product to help farmers to buy their first farm.
My government will also prioritise legislation to criminalise the invasion of rural properties and the incitement of violence that too often leads to such behaviour.
It is also committed to eliminating mobile phone black spots across one million square kilometres of this country.
It will also do more to support university and vocational education students to stay in their local communities by providing five additional regional study hubs.
And to improve the health of people living outside our cities, 13 new regional cancer centres will be opened, and 3,000 more doctors and the same number of nurses will be supported into regional general practice in the decade ahead.
New medical treatments and medicines will also be delivered through clinical trials in regional, rural and remote areas.
My government’s promise is to govern for all Australians and that promise includes those of us living in our most rural and remote communities.