The New South Wales Labor Government has refused to rule out cutting the Regional Apprentice and University Student Travel Card in its September Budget.
The former Liberal and Nationals Government travel card has been instrumental in assisting over 5,000 regional apprentices since its inception this year to manage the cost of travel associated with their studies or apprenticeships.
NSW Nationals Leader, Shadow Minister for Regional NSW and Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said the comments by Labor last week just confirm what we already knew – if you don’t live in Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong the Labor Government doesn’t care.
“When we launched the trial of this card in Dubbo in February I met with Luke Prentice, a mature-aged apprentice electrician with a young family who was going to benefit by being able to use the card to buy fuel to get to work and to training,” Mr Saunders said.
“Luke described the card as a welcome boost to his family’s budget, and there would be thousands of people in regional NSW like Luke who will suffer because Labor doesn’t care about the bush.
“I asked the Regional Transport Minister Jenny Aitchison on Thursday last week in Parliament whether she would cut the program. It was a simple yes or no question which the Minister spent seven minutes failing to answer. Labor needs to come clean about whether it truly supports cost of living measures like this card.”
Shadow Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said he has been disappointed by the lack of commitment from the current government given the investment he had previously put forward as the Minister.
“We know the difference this card is already making, and will continue to make right across regional NSW. Labor needs to come clean on its plans and not keep stringing people along pretending it cares about cost of living.”
The NSW Liberals and Nationals remain committed to advocating for regional apprentices and university students, and will continue to put pressure on the Government to stop cutting support in a time of unprecedented cost of living pressures.