Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack highlighted projects on the Mid North Coast when he told parliament today of the significance of regional growth to the national economy.
Mr McCormack was responding to a question from Luke Hartsuyker, Member for Cowper, about the significance of investment in the regions to the country’s overall economic wellbeing.
The Deputy Prime Minister, who is also Infrastructure Minister in the government of new Prime Minister Scott Morrison, cited the Pacific Highway upgrade, the Coffs Harbour bypass, the Port Macquarie airport expansion and the Tacking Point Lighthouse Road upgrade as epitomising the reason for investing in regional centres across the country.
“You can’t have a strong economy without strong regions,” Mr McCormack told parliament.
“And certainly our regions are delivering for the benefit of the economy and for the country.”
Mr McCormack downplayed the role of government, saying it was ultimately private businesses that were the real engine of growth.
He emphasised the role of small and medium businesses in increasing employment last year by 400,000 jobs, including 95,000 for young people, many of which were in the regions.
Mr McCormack said the need to encourage business explained why the government was sponsoring programs worth over $1 billion nationally to help regional businesses and communities grow, and why the government was providing tax cuts for small and medium enterprises.
Outside parliament Mr Hartsuyker said he was pleased Mr McCormack had singled out the Mid North Coast by using local examples of infrastructure investment and community development programs to highlight the contribution of regional areas.
“I also agree with the Deputy PM that the role of government is simply to provide the right settings, so that our local businesses can get on with the job that only they can do, which is creating more jobs, stronger communities, and a stronger country,” he said.