Tom Stephens

Tom Stephens

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    National Party support for Fightback policies criticised

    7/01/1993 12:00 AM
     
     
    The National Party has been accused of turning its back on its constituency by agreeing to implement the Liberal Party's Fightback policies in government.
     
    The Minister for the Mid-West, Gascoyne and Wheatbelt, Tom Stephens, said Fightback was a city-based policy which would impact harshly on rural and remote communities.
     
    Mr Stephens said the Nationals had abandoned their traditional supporters by becoming an appendage of the Liberal Party.
     
    They were political opportunists who had joined a city-based conglomerate in response to city-based opinion polls.
     
    "Fightback is very bad news for people living outside Perth, a fact acknowledged by Hendy Cowan when it was first released," he said.
     
    "People in country areas already pay more for essential services such as electricity, water, transport and communications.
     
    "All of these services will cost at least 10 per cent more when the GST comes into effect.
     
    "The inflationary effect of Fightback will be exaggerated in country areas, pushing up the cost of living and making life just that little bit more difficult.
     
    "The National Party used to fight for a better deal for country people, but it is now locked into a discredited Liberal package which will hurt country communities."
     
    Mr Stephens said Fightback also involved big cuts in Government spending which would be felt most in country areas.
     
    "When Government services are cut, the first communities to suffer will be those in rural and remote areas," he said.
     
    "When Government employees are sacked, the job losses will be felt most in country towns.
     
    "And when assets like Telecom are sold off, country people will lose services or pay more when cross-subsidies are removed.
     
    "This is what the National Party now stands for.  It has embraced Fightback and turned its back on country people."