Under the banner of the Fair Go for the Regions campaign launched by News in April, the editors of 20 regional titles signed an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
ARM joined the campaign shortly after because of the opportunity it presented to give voice to the needs of its readers on greater scale.
The letter was featured in a double-page spread that was run in ARM papers yesterday and today and will be published in News regionals on Friday and Saturday.
The editors condemned both major parties for a failure to deliver a coherent strategy for the regions and warned the Fair Go campaign had not ended – it was just beginning.
The letter to the two leaders outlined a series of commitments editors wanted from the next Australian government on behalf of their readers.
“Do you really think you have done enough for regional Australia?
“The 6.8 million people who live outside our major capital cities create almost 70 per cent of the nation’s export earnings.
“But on almost every social indicator, these same people get an unfair go from you.
“They die younger, earn less, are fatter and leave school earlier and end up on welfare more often.
“The Fair Go for Regional Australia campaign, launched on April 3, told a stark story of regional disadvantage in the plainest terms.
“So, let us speak plainly now.
“The longest election campaign in Australian history has not delivered a coherent strategy for our regions.
“It has been long on rhetoric and short on detail. At no time has either party committed to redressing the balance, apart from one or two election pledge crumbs.
“Today, the editors of our campaign newspapers ask that you replace piecemeal politics with a Fair Go for Regional Australia and make a real difference.
“We ask you to commit that:
TAXES taken from our regions will be spent in our regions. For example, that the $10 billion regional smokers will pay in extra taxes over the next 10 years will not leave our regions.
THE Budget process will show where our regional taxes are spent-how much is returned to support regional growth.
“On behalf of our millions of readers (and voters) we pledge this: Whoever wins this weekend will be held to account.
“The Fair Go campaign is not ending, it has just started. We ask for fairness. It is the right thing to do. Please do it.”
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