Nats to keep up fight against La­bor’s re­gional cuts

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - News -

As The Na­tion­als WA gear-up for our an­nual State Con­fer­ence — to be held in Man­jimup this week­end — it is worth re­flect­ing on the past 18 months since La­bor won Gov­ern­ment.

Sadly, it will go down as one of the more tu­mul­tuous pe­ri­ods in re­gional Western Aus­tralia’s his­tory.

For the first time in al­most 100 years the Coun­try Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion shed its apo­lit­i­cal skin and picked up plac­ards in protest.

Re­gional chil­dren pleaded for their schools to be kept open via on­line videos.

A Com­mu­nity Re­source Cen­tre man­ager broke down in front of the State’s me­dia as the loom­ing threat of bud­get cuts weighed heav­ily on her shoul­ders.

Farm­ers were forced to de­fend their busi­ness and, in­ex­pli­ca­bly, their moral com­pass af­ter their Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter aban­doned them.

Yet through all the heartache, un­cer­tainty and sleep­less nights, re­gional West Aus­tralians man­aged to do what re­gional West Aus­tralians have al­ways done.

We banded to­gether. We found a voice. We stood up. We changed the out­come.

In the past 12 months The Na­tion­als and the com­mu­ni­ties we rep­re­sent have suc­cess­fully forced the La­bor Gov­ern­ment to re­verse its plans to erad­i­cate the School of the Air, shut res­i­den­tial col­leg- es in Moora and Northam, stop the South West Res­cue He­li­copter from fly­ing and cut Com­mu­nity Re­source Cen­tre fund­ing in half.

That said, our job is not done.

As pre­dicted, La­bor has moved to kill off Roy­al­ties for Re­gions — strip­ping more than half a bil­lion dol­lars from our flag­ship pro­gram — to pay for wa­ter sub­si­dies and school buses.

The fight to re­verse the suite of ed­u­ca­tion cuts — in­clud­ing the un­cer­tain fu­ture faced by the Bridgetown and Pem­ber­ton camp schools — rages on.

My col­leagues and I have been em­bold­ened by the pas­sion and in­ge­nu­ity of the grass­roots cam­paigns to stand up to La­bor’s cruel cuts to core ser­vices.

We will con­tinue to fight shoul­der-to-shoul­der with these groups in the weeks and months to come.

The Mc­Gowan Gov­ern­ment has un­der­es­ti­mated time and again the level of fight which re­sides in the pit of the stom­ach of ev­ery re­gional West Aus­tralian; from par­ents to stu­dents, farm­ers and small busi­ness own­ers.

The abil­ity to stand to­gether and get an out­come will be even more crit­i­cal come 2021 when we will once again look to as­sert our in­flu­ence to put re­gional West Aus­tralians back at the front of the queue. Mia Davies, Na­tion­als WA leader

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