Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon has criticised federal Labor for slashing the Regional Infrastructure Fund by a massive $2 billion over the next seven years, saying it will frustrate much needed public transport and other critical infrastructure projects for NSW.
"Only $2.4 billion over nine years is left for improvements to regional infrastructure because Labor has failed to fix the mining tax. The government has baulked at taking on mining companies and abolishing fossil fuel subsidies, making regional NSW the bunny," Senator Rhiannon said.
"Sydney received $2.2 billion for upgrades to the privately owned and operated M2, M4, and M5 motorways, with there is nothing for regional passenger or freight rail.
"The Australian Government established the $6 billion Regional Infrastructure Fund to invest the proceeds of the mining tax into developing and growing regional economies. But now Labor's failure to strengthen the mining tax will hurt regional communities in NSW for years to come.
"This year the mining tax reaped a measly $200 million, down from the $3 billion promised by the government. This loss means winding back spending for regional and rural NSW for projects such as rail, ports, airports, energy, communications, water and other critical infrastructure.
"Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese has failed to prioritise supporting regional NSW in tough times when stimulating the economy through big infrastructure projects is most needed.
"This budget has not promoted a smarter or fairer society as the government claims, but abandoned vulnerable people and regional communities.
"$2.3 billion cuts to higher education which will hurt regional students and universities. The government has also failed to provide the financial leg up single parents and job seekers deserve," Senator Rhiannon said.