Independent Senate Candidate for the ACT, Anthony Pesec, believes that the Federal Budget clearly demonstrates the failure of the current Liberal representative for the ACT to stand up and fight for the interests of Canberrans.
Mr Pesec said, “The Canberra region is set to receive only 0.05% of the total infrastructure spending, despite being the nation’s eighth-largest population centre.
“The budget allocates funding for a number of fast rail projects, but not for a faster rail service between Sydney and Canberra. The Sydney to Canberra route is clearly the best candidate in this country for investment in a long-distance fast rail service, so the Coalition’s decision to exclude it shows both how concerned they are about shoring up their vote in other regional areas and how much they take Canberrans for granted.
“The Coalition is also continuing to push public service jobs away from Canberra to other regional areas, and the budget overlooks the problems of climate change and the opportunity for a clean energy industry for Australia.
“While there are some positives – the funding for the National Library’s excellent Trove digital service is very welcome as is the extra resourcing for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to deal with privacy issues and the additional funding for ACT health services – in each case the funding announced in the budget is less than previous cuts to these institutions.
“Additional staffing for the Australian War Memorial is also welcome however the Coalition is still proposing to proceed with the unnecessary and wasteful half billion dollar expansion of this institution, while many other national cultural institutions in Canberra continue to be starved of operational funding.
“The people of Canberra need a locally-focussed representative in the federal parliament that will listen to and advocate for their needs, and not be overlooked as part of a wider national party strategy that takes Canberrans for granted. I’m really pleased with the level of support I’m already seeing out on the streets of Canberra and I’m keen to start the campaign proper for the ACT Senate to provide A Real Voice for Canberra.”