Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird and Federal Member for Throsby, Stephen Jones today criticised this week’s gaffe-filled visit to the region by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
“Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s recent whirlwind visit to the Illawarra to raise funds for local candidates was a farce from start to finish,” Ms Bird said.
“Right from the start, when he got up at the Liberal Party fundraiser on Wednesday night and commented on the great turnout from Newcastle, Mr Abbott’s visit went from bad to worse,” Mr Jones said.
“Most insultingly, Mr Abbott dismissed the iconic Maldon-Dombarton freight rail link as an “urban rail project” that should be funded by the State Government,” Ms Bird said.
“The comments clearly indicate that an Abbott government would not support the Maldon-Dombarton project which directly contradicts what Liberal candidates have been saying locally,” Ms Bird said.
“It should send alarm bells throughout the Illawarra where one in ten jobs are in the manufacturing sector, that Mr Abbott has said funding support for the steel and manufacturing industries would be withdrawn by an Abbott Government,” Mr Jones said.
“By contrast, the Gillard Government has strongly supported the steel and manufacturing sectors, with $100 million of assistance to Bluescope through the Steel Transformation Plan, a new Jobs Plan to support manufacturing, more than $100 million to the University of Wollongong for infrastructure projects and $25.4 million for the Maldon-Dombarton project,” Mr Jones said.
“The Gillard Government is also rolling out the National Broadband Network to more homes and businesses here than any other region in Australia – all of this is at risk from a future Coalition Government,” Ms Bird said.
“It is starkly clear that the Illawarra rates very low in importance for the Coalition and that an Abbott Government would put local jobs and businesses at risk,’ Mr Jones said.