NSW Farmers Vice President Xavier Martin says he is concerned regional funding is being used as a political football in the final days of the election campaign.
On Wednesday Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese told the National Press Club he wanted “no-one held back, no-one left behind” if Labor secured government, but also said he would reduce the Community Development Grants Program and end the Regionalisation Fund.
“Investment in our regions is critical to unlocking the economic potential of agriculture and therefore repairing the budget,” Mr Martin said.
“If we want to beat inflation we need to improve productivity, and that means we need a fair go for our regions that is based on need, not politics.
“Whoever is elected on Saturday must commit to strategic investment that is purpose-built for our regional communities and based on need.”
Mr Martin pointed to a recent incident that highlighted the gap between city and country communities.
“Just recently I was left trying to run my farm business from a landline because the local mobile phone tower – that also provides our internet – went down for more than a week,” Mr Martin said.
“We’re living in a digital world and trying to get our products to market, but sometimes it feels like you’ve got one hand tied behind your back.
“At the end of the day agriculture is about producing healthy plants and animals for people, everyone has a stake in securing a future for farming.”