Nationals have failed rural Australia

In a recent article in Sunraysia Daily on May 28, Mallee MP Andrew Broad said “it’s not unreasonable for us to want to drive on a decent road, be able to make a mobile phone call, have good education opportunities and to know that if we are unwell, we will have access to quality medical services”.

Mr Broad then continues on to discuss the National Party’s commitment to the Mobile Black Spot Program. 

It is wonderful to see Mr Broad commenting on a problem that affects many people throughout Australia. However is he willing to state his views on why his National Party is limiting “education opportunities” by axing the Gonski funding? 

Also the National Party has slashed $152 million from the Higher Education Participation and Partnership Program which assists disadvantaged groups such as low socio economic background students to attend university. 

Why? Is it any wonder that this unfair withdrawal of funding has provoked a backlash from the tertiary sector? When Mr Broad says, “we will have access to quality medical services”, why is his National Party freezing Medicare rebates for at least the next four years forcing doctors to introduce a co-payment of at least $20 each time a person goes to a doctor? 

Even the ultra conservative Australian Medical Association has rebelled against this co-payment by stealth and mounted a public outcry. And the cost of prescriptions will increase by $5 from January 1, 2017. 

Patients will also have to fork out a $20 charge for blood tests from July as a result of the National Party’s cuts to pathology while families will not be able to get $1000 worth of free dental care as the child dental scheme (currently used by one million children) was axed in the budget. Cancer patients will also have to pay $800 towards the cost of their scans. Is this what Mr Broad thinks is “access to quality medical services”?

Obviously Mr Broad doesn’t need to state his views on anything as he has the safest seat in Australia, or maybe he doesn’t want to become a laughing stock like his National’s leader Barnaby Joyce who picks on small animals and frequently puts both feet into his mouth.

Winston Easterbrook,