PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has talked up the prospect of a “Regional Deal” for Albury-Wodonga as part of the federal government’s development approach.
The nation’s leader used a media conference with member for Farrer Sussan Ley in Albury’s Amp Lane on Thursday to stress he did not want to be Sydney-centric.
“What we need is regional deals in places like Albury-Wodonga,” Mr Morrison said.
“This is a community, this is a town, this is a city that is really performing strongly and we need to make sure it has the infrastructure and services and the co-ordination between all the tiers of government.
“Not just at state and local level and federal, but between two state governments as well and I think there’s a really great opportunity here to actually, as they already have in things like health, to combine how we do things across the border and see this region become even stronger.
“I do want to be a prime minister for regional Australia, even though I’m a boy from the Sydney suburbs, I’m also someone who is passionate about things well beyond the cities.”
The City Deals program in Australia began under Mr Morrison’s predecessor Malcolm Turnbull after having started in Britain.
They involve all levels of government, the community and private enterprise combining on planning and investment with the aim of generating jobs and urban renewal.
City Deals for Townsville, Launceston and Western Sydney have been finalised with other places, such as Hobart and Geelong, in the pipeline.
Mr Morrison also responded to Deniliquin irrigators who last week moved a motion calling on him to visit and witness their plight as they battle with the drought.
He said he would “very much like to do that”.
“I know Sussan is very across that and I would take that opportunity where I could to do that,” Mr Morrison said.
Ms Ley then hinted the government’s national drought co-ordinator Stephen Day and drought envoy Barnaby Joyce may visit the Deniliquin district before any trip by Mr Morrison.
“PM I’ve said to them (Deniliquin irrigators) I’d love to get you there, but maybe Major-General Stephen Day and they love Barnaby, so he’s always welcome,” Ms Ley said.
“We’ll fight the fight and we’ll keep in touch.”
Quotes from Mr Morrison’s media conference in Albury on Thursday
“What we need is Regional Deals in places like Albury-Wodonga. This is a city that is really performing strongly and we need to make sure it has the infrastructure and services and the co-ordination between all the tiers of government.”
On call to visit drought-hit Deniliquin irrigators
“I would take that opportunity where I could to do that.”
On Wagga poll caused by ex-Liberal Daryl Maguire
“I know the circumstances of that by-election, but how NSW continues to be run is really the issue here and how that is supporting regional areas, so I’d encourage them to support Liberals this weekend because the Berejiklian government is doing the right thing by regional NSW.”
On fallout of the Liberal Party’s leadership change
“We are coming back quickly together. We are focussed on Australians and their challenges. We’re not focussed on ourself (sic). Australians have had a gutful of politicians focussing and talking about themselves. They want us 100 per cent focussed on them.”
On Sussan Ley, his newly minted Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories
“It’s great to have you back in the executive team of government, not just because of your skills and your talent, but also representing a Liberal here from rural and regional Australia.”
On what he wants in energy infrastructure
“Stuff that works when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. That’s the reliable power that we need in our system.”
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