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Rural Australia left behind in big city budget

The federal budget fails to deliver for the bush, say the Australian Greens.

"This is simply a re-badging of old programs, with no real new money. We are not seeing the strategic application of services and measures needed to address systemic issues in rural Australia," said Greens spokesperson on agricultural, Senator Rachel Siewert.

"The Caring for our Country program is an ill-thought-out rush-job, more designed to quieten the unrest of regional communities and environment groups than to target the conservation and resource management needs of Australia's future."

"We have a rich history of community engagement with land care and catchment management programs. Rural landholders and community organisations have invested a lot of time and money in building a regional capacity and developing long-term management plans."

"This is being undermined by an approach by the new Government that will gradually kill-off the regional NRM groups established under NHT," she said.

"The last thing we want to see is a return to ad-hoc, scattered schemes that are easily manipulated and changed by the current political flavour of the month."

"It is a bad omen for the bush if the Government's flagship initiative 'Australia's Farming Future' is only $130 million over four years.

"With rural Australia struggling against the drought, this budget delivers a mere $36 million in the first year for adaptation to climate change. There is a severe lack of long-term thinking being applied to such a drastically important area."

"A lot more is needed, and with such a small amount, Mr Rudd is leaving the bush out in the cold," she concluded.

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