News Parliament

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS - REGIONAL INVESTMENT CORPORATION

I'd like to speak today on the great initiative that is the Regional Investment Corporation—or RIC, as it's known to its many friends—which is to be based in the central west at Orange and will be operational from 1 July. The RIC will administer $2 billion in drought support in the form of concessional loans for our farmers and a $2 billion loan facility to help fast-track water infrastructure projects. The RIC is all about supporting country communities. That's why it's very important that it has been decentralised to a country area. The RIC will also bring with it 25 to 30 jobs, which are very welcome in the central west. Everyone in the region will get a shot at these jobs.

It beggars belief that the Labor Party continues to oppose the RIC. They have opposed it at every turn, trying to kill jobs for country Australia and the drought relief that the RIC brings for our farmers. The member for Hunter kicks around this place in RM Williams boots, but nobody should be fooled. He doesn't fight for country Australia. He has the heart of a socks-and-sandals man. Out in the central west, we know him better as 'the shadow minister for recentralisation'. He wants to destroy the RIC and the jobs that it brings to our region. We'll be reminding folks about that at the next election. Country people support moving jobs out of the big city. The RIC is a win for regional Australia, and long may decentralisation like this continue.