MEDIA RELEASE

4 December 2020

 

Tim Quilty says the time is right to start talking about a regional exit - Rexit

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty believes the time is right to start gathering support for a regional exit – Rexit - of Southern NSW and Northern Victoria.

The Wodonga-based MP first mentioned the idea of regional Victoria and NSW separating to form a new state in his maiden speech two years ago.

At the time he used the concept to illustrate how badly regional areas suffer under city-focused government – but over the last two years the idea has gained its own momentum.

“Country Australians have for years been treated as second or even third-class citizens compared with their big city counterparts. What I am suggesting is by no means a novel concept,” Mr Quilty said.

“But two years in parliament watching a city-based government sell out the interests of regional Victoria, a process that went on steroids during the coronavirus crisis, has cemented the resolve to make something happen.

“Regional Victoria had only the occasional case of COVID, yet we have been forced to follow rules created in and designed for a metropolitan environment.”

Mr Quilty believes a regional state governed from a modestly sized town would understand and respond to regional communities’ needs.

“We’ve had examples where state governments don’t even know their own geography – NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian believed the Albury suburb of Lavington was in Victoria, while the Victorian Government’s budget spent over 50% of its regional hospital budget in Frankston,” Mr Quilty said.

“The Andrews Government wants to close down the Victorian hardwood timber industry to buy green votes in Melbourne, without giving a damn about the industry’s workers, their families and communities who will all suffer enormous hardship.

“Many of these workers have skills which will not transfer to other industries, their families will have no breadwinner, and local economies will miss their spending on daily necessities – and for what?

“Hardwood timber is a renewable, carefully managed industry which locks carbon away when timber is used to make pallets or furniture, but the Labor Government refuses to listen to anybody.”

Mr Quilty said regional Victoria and NSW are economic powerhouses which create enormous wealth but receive relatively little in return.

“Farming, mining and timber pour billions into the economy and yet we are always hearing about the death of regional towns, where a lack of investment and infrastructure leads to a reduction in employment opportunities and a forced migration to big cities,” Mr Quilty said.

“Government departments and larger employers are based in capital cities and end up sucking all of the resources from regional areas, so country towns just shrivel and die.

“A regional state would encourage investment with a series of economic policies and zones designed to make setting up business in the regions a much more attractive prospect.

“Cutting taxes and costs of doing business – for example eliminating payroll tax - would appeal to major employers and drive investment.”

Mr Quilty is starting a series of forums to discuss Rexit in the west of Victoria.

“I will be in Swan Hill on December 15 and Mildura on December 17 to meet community members and start having conversations about Rexit – what I am proposing will be hugely challenging to some passionate Victorians, but I believe we can put forward a strong enough case to change people’s minds,” Mr Quilty said.

“All great changes have started off as just an idea being explored by small groups. I believe there is enough evidence to convince people that regional communities will be better off breaking away and governing themselves.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819