DEPUTY Prime Minister and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce warned “uncontracted projects” in the region could have been under threat following a vote ambush by the Opposition.
Labor surprised the Federal Government on Thursday by voting against Parliament adjourning at its usual time of 4.30pm, winning 69 to 67.
The Opposition then won another two votes while a number of Government MPs were absent, bringing forward a banking royal commission motion.
Leader of the House, Christopher Pyne, then moved a motion to adjourn the debate, which the Government won 73 to 72.
Mr Joyce, who visited Scone on Friday afternoon to thank community members for their support during his election campaign, stressed that “we can’t risk another vote like last night”.
“What was going through my mind, among other things, was that we are one vote away from losing a vote, and two votes away from a no-confidence motion, which means that we’ve just lost the election,” he said.
“There would [then] be a change of arrangements...things we've provided money for would disappear because they would have a new Budget, a crisis Budget, and they would start changing the allocation of funds.
“That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you’re in the House [of Representatives].”
Mr Joyce said Labor’s move could have threatened projects around the New England region such as the Scone Bypass, Tenterfield Heavy Vehicle Bypass, Merriwa to Willow Tree road upgrade, Thoroughbred Association levy, water supply to Werris Creek, and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s (APVMA) move to Armidale.
“All these things we’ve got to move, move, move,” he said.
“We’ve got to get [these] issues rolled out; if we get them started then we’ll get them finished but we’ve got to get them started first.
“You can never, ever let any treasurer have a crisis Budget...if they [do] then anything that is an uncontracted project they’ll take the funding away and that’s where the story ends.”
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