Moree Press Conference
KATRINA HUMPRIES: The future funding for our roads is so imperative to the whole business of our Shire because we are the most agriculturally productive Shire in Australia. So getting a big bucket of money that we can divide up in our community, for roads that Council would possibly never have the money to seal. And it's about connectivity, it's about connecting roads to major link roads. And it's about making life better for our rural people. And it's hugely important. So thank you very much, Barnaby, for being here today. And, Mark, it's a great time. It's a beautiful setting. We've got a big truck coming down behind us, which is just perfect and it's not set up. It's just what it is. Thank you very much. And if you'd like to say a few words.
BARNABY JOYCE: I'll let Mark jump in.
MARK COULTON: Okay. Right across regional Australia, there are countless roads like this one. Not a lot of people live on this road, but as you can see, it's highly productive. There'd be thousands of tonnes of produce would come down this road and other ones like it. It's so important as part of the efficiency of getting our produce to market, that we have roads that can be traversed in all weather conditions. Barnaby.
BARNABY JOYCE: The reason our nation works is people exporting stuff. It's grain going off, going to earn you export dollars. Export dollars is the reason you can buy a Toyota Land Cruiser, or you buy your Mazda or buy the fuel in your car, or your watch or your iPhone, because we put things on the ship and send them in the other direction. That's why people want to send things back to us. Otherwise, currency wouldn't be worth anything. Now in our nation, we have roads that are beyond the capabilities, financial capabilities of councils to look after. They're not state roads and are certainly not federal roads. But these roads, some of them they haven’t been worked on since the Great Depression. Just nothing happens to them. You have parents trying to get their kids to school and if it rains, they get bogged. There are corners where there have been bad accidents – sometimes people have been killed – that have never been fixed. There are places that are just plain dangerous. You'd be lucky, seriously lucky to get over 40 kilometres an hour along a lot of these roads because they're potholed, they’re finished. Now, we're not talking about sealing these roads. We don't have that sort of money. But this $150 million means that people on those roads, the forgotten roads, can basically get an application, talk to their council, then they move it off down to Canberra, Independent Grants Hub, nothing crazy here, Independent Grants Hub recommends it back to us and we might be able to get some gravel down, knock some corners out, put a bit of a surface down so they're not just wracked with potholes. That'll make a big difference in people's lives. These are roads that if they were in Sydney, they just would not tolerate them. So this is making sure that for the people in the remote corners, in the areas that other people have forgotten about, we haven't forgotten about you. And we're going to make sure across our nation, from Alice Springs to Santa Teresa, who talk to us about getting work on their road. Where I come from, people living around Weabonga, around Danglemah and out here on the black soil plains where you get a bit of rain, that's where you stop for the night. You aren't going nowhere. This is a program that the Nationals believe in. It really talks to exactly what we're on about. Forgotten people in the corners who believe that it’s just never going to get better and no one's ever going to care. Well, it's not going to solve everything, but we're giving this a $150 million nudge. Thanks.