Nationals State Conference this weekend

14 May 2015

The Nationals State Conference is on in Echuca this weekend, with key leaders including Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, Leader of the Victorian Nationals Peter Walsh, Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash all attending.

Mr Truss will deliver the keynote speech at a dinner on Friday night following the handing down of the Federal Budget this week, before a full program of formalities on Saturday including a ‘Brighter Futures’ education forum and debate on conference motions.

Mr Walsh said the annual State Conference was an opportunity for The Nationals’ leaders, MPs and general members to get together and share ideas.

“Many of the motions to be debated aim to hold the Melbourne Labor Government to account, because all we have seen since they were elected are cuts to rural and regional Victoria,” Mr Walsh said.

“This week it was discovered that only 2.9 per cent of major infrastructure projects being promised by Daniel Andrews are in regional Victoria.

“The Nationals are determined to hold this Melbourne focused government to account and make sure rural and regional Victoria gets its fair share of funding.”

Some key motions to be debated include:

-       Calling on the government to proceed with all road, rail and transport initiatives listed in Victoria’s pre-election budget update;

-       Condemning the Melbourne Labor Government for cutting the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program; and

-       Calling for improved passenger and freight rail services in regional Victoria.

The Brighter Futures forum will bring together students, apprentices and educational leaders from across the state to explore the barriers facing young people in rural and regional Victoria when pursuing further education.

Deputy Leader Steph Ryan, who is leading the forum, said it was an opportunity for The Nationals to learn more about those issues and how they might be overcome.

“Young people in rural and regional Victoria face a particular challenge when it comes to pursuing tertiary education, as they often have to move away from home and pay extra costs for accommodation and transport,” Ms Ryan said.

“We want to hear first-hand about those barriers and discuss ways in which young people could be assisted to make their transition to higher education easier.”

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