The Nationals for regional Australia
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About The Nationals

Our Achievements


A Track Record of Delivery

From 1996 to 2007, Australia was governed by Liberal/National Coalition Government which thought and acted responsibly in the long term national interest.

Australia had a strongly growing economy that was the envy of the world. The Nationals delivered policies and investment for regional Australia that ensured local communities and families had the best shot at a prosperous, confident and vibrant future.

The Liberal/National Coalition Government also eliminated more than $96 billion in government debt left by the former Labor Government, restored Australia’s AAA credit rating and delivered more jobs, lower inflation and lower interest rates.

With more productive workplaces and the lowest unemployment rates in 33 years, Australians enjoyed better living standards. Our buoyant economy was the envy of the developed world.

When Labor came to power in November 2007, it inherited surplus budgets and $60 billion in savings from the former Coalition government. Exports had doubled and net household wealth had tripled from 1996 levels. Infrastructure spending had been more than doubled and a massive upgrading of road and rail was well underway across the nation.

These achievements are a few of the many that The Nationals have delivered, not just for regional Australia, but for all Australians over the Party’s nearly-90 year history.

Landmark achievements in government

Achievements 2010-2011

  • Secured Parliament’s support for a review of foreign investment in agriculture and water assets by the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and the Productivity Commission (2011)
  • Established a Senate inquiry into the Water Act, which found the Act was biased toward the environment and recommended amendments so as to deliver a “triple-bottom” line (2011)
  • Developed a policy to provide tax concessions to nation-building infrastructure so as to attract funds from the $1.4 trillion invested in superannuation (2010)
  • Established a dams taskforce to develop proposals for new investment in dams and opening up new areas to agricultural development (2011)
  • Introduced legislation to prevent the Environment Minister from locking up entire coastal regions from any fishing without Parliamentary approval (2011)
  • Introduced a Private Member’s Bill to minimise the risk of fire blight and other pests and diseases to the Australian apple industry (2011)
  • Led the fight to restore the live cattle export trade to Indonesian abattoirs with acceptable welfare standards (2011)
  • Secured Parliament’s support for a motion in support of the dairy industry in response to the supermarkets’ milk price war (2011)
  • Forcing the Government to maintain Agricultural Research and Development funding despite the government commissioning a report recommending halving the government’s contribution (2011)
  • Forced the Government to continue funding eradication of an Asian bee incursion around the Cairns area in Queensland (2011)
  • Led the fight to restore Independent Youth Allowance eligibility to students in regional areas (2010, 2011)
  • Introduced legislation to provide more control to indigenous communities on the regulation of Wild Rivers (2010, 2011)

The 2000s

  • Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (2000)
  • $1.78 billion for dairy deregulation adjustment (2000)
  • continuation of analogue mobile phone system beyond scheduled shut down until replaced with CDMA (2000)
  • Telstra Country Wide (2000)
  • Australia-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (2001)
  • Sustainable Regions Program (2001)
  • Roads to Recovery Program (2001)
  • Besley inquiry (2000) and Estens inquiry (2002) resulting in further $344 million to improve rural and regional telecommunications’ services
  • $150 million for sugar industry deregulation adjustment (2002)
  • Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, including $8.8 million for National Agenda for Early Childhood (2003)
  • National Water Initiative, supported by $2 billion Australian Government Water Fund (2003)
  • $1.1 billion Connect Australia package (2005)
  • Free Trade Agreements with Thailand and the USA (2005)
  • $2 billion for perpetual Communications Fund for regional telecommunications (2005)
  • Drought assistance funding totalling $1.25 billion over five years to 2005/06
  • Negotiations for Free Trade Agreements with the Republic of China, Japan, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and between Australia, New Zealand and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) (2005-2007)
  • $15 billion Auslink national land transport program (2005) and $22 billion Auslink 2 program (2007).
  • Forced a government review into the waste and mismanagement of the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (2009)
  • Secured the Agriculture Minister’s agreement for a $127.4 million package to reform the AQIS Export Certification program and implement export supply chain reforms and efficiencies (2009)
  • Forced the axing of the farcical “GroceryChoice” website which provided no new information to consumers (2009)
  • Led the debate against imposing an emissions trading scheme (ETS) and twice succeeded in securing Parliament’s support to defeat its introduction (2008,2009)
  • Forced the Government to use an increase in the road user charge to fund rest stops for truck drivers (2008)
  • Forced the axing of the Rudd Government’s failed “Fuelwatch” scheme (2008)
  • Successfully led the fight against banana imports (2007-2011)

The 1990s

  • Victoria Cross Memorial Rest Areas on Remembrance Drive (Hume and Federal highways) between Sydney and Canberra (1996)
  • Supermarket to Asia (1996)
  • Rural Finance Summit and subsequent $525 million Agriculture – Advancing Australia package (1997)
  • Natural Heritage Trust (1997)
  • Their Service – Our Heritage Program to preserve the memory of veterans for future generations and Regional War Memorials Project to restore country and regional war memorials (1997)
  • National Land and Water Resources Audit (1997)
  • Centenary of Federation Community Projects Program (1998)
  • New Australian war memorials, including at Hellfire Pass, Thailand (1998), Sandakan, Borneo (1999), and for the Gallipoli Dawn Service, Turkey (2000).
  • Increased child care places from 306,000 to nearly 562,000 between 1996/97 and 2004/05
  • Regional Australia Summit and Regional Solutions Program (1999)
  • $1 billion from the partial sale of Telstra for social bonus initiatives to improve country and regional telecommunications’ services (1999)
  • Rural Transaction Centres for smaller communities (1999)

The 1960s to 1980s

  • The live sheep export trade (1960)
  • Development of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme between 1963 and 1972
  • State Aid to Independent schools (1964)
  • Fluoridation of Canberra’s water supply (1964)
  • Devaluation compensation for export industries (1967)
  • Australian Design Rules for motor vehicle safety, quality and emission controls (1969)
  • Australian Wool Commission and flexible wool reserve price scheme (1970)
  • National campaign to eradicate brucellosis and tuberculosis from the nation’s cattle herd (BTEC) (1970)
  • Standard gauge Indian Pacific railway between Sydney and Perth (1970)
  • National Agricultural Outlook Conference, now including resources and known as the National Outlook Conference (1971)
  • Australian Industry Development Corporation – the ‘McEwen Bank’ (1971)
  • Rural Reconstruction Scheme (1971)
  • Expansion of the Australian Trade Commissioner Service to 53 posts in 40 countries (1972)
  • Australian Wool Corporation (1972)
  • Diversification of Australia’s international trade with Britain joining the European Economic Community from January 1973
  • Medibank Private (1976)
  • National Marine Science Research Centre, Hobart (1976)
  • Rural Adjustment Scheme (1976)
  • Abolition of Commonwealth estate and gift duties (1977)
  • Expansion of uranium mining and export (1977)
  • National Water Resources Program (1977)
  • Peaceful use of nuclear energy agreements with Finland, Sweden, the Philippines, South Korea, USA, UK, France, Canada, European Atomic Energy Community, and Japan (1977-82)
  • Australian National Animal Health Laboratory, Geelong, Victoria (1978)
  • Self-government for the Northern Territory (1978)
  • Primary Industry Bank of Australia (1978)
  • Ban on commercial whaling in Australia (1978)
  • Low cost advance early purchase (apex) international air fares (1978)
  • 200-mile Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) (1979)
  • Ban on the exploration and drilling for oil on the Great Barrier Reef and declaration of the Capricornia section as the first stage of a protected Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (1979)
  • AUSSAT, one of the world’s first national satellite telecommunications systems (1980-82)
  • Burdekin River Dam, creating Queensland’s largest lake, Lake Dalrymple (1980)
  • Ban on all whaling activities within the 200-mile AFZ (1980)
  • Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1981)
  • Australian Bicentennial Road Development Program (1982)
  • Closer Economic Relations with New Zealand (1982)
  • Bicentennial Water Resources Program (1983)

The 1920s to 1950s

  • The nation’s first radio broadcasting licences (1923)
  • A restructured Commonwealth Bank as a central bank (1924)
  • Chaired the first ever Cabinet meeting on federal territory, at Yarralumla homestead in the ACT (30 January 1924)
  • Tax averaging for primary producers (1924)
  • Department of Markets, forerunner of contemporary departments of primary industry and of agriculture, fisheries and forestry, to better market primary products overseas (1925)
  • Rural Credits Department within the Commonwealth Bank (1925) and the Commonwealth Savings Bank (1927)
  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – today’s CSIRO (1926)
  • Commonwealth funding for roads through the Main Roads Development Act 1923 and the first Federal Aid Roads Agreement (1926)
  • The first Commonwealth-state Transport Advisory Council (1929)
  • New Commonwealth-State financial arrangements through the States Grants Act 1927
  • Australian Agricultural Council (1935)
  • Australian Trade Commissioner Service – now Austrade (1934)
  • National Health and Medical Research Council (1936)
  • Abolition of petrol rationing (1950)
  • Free milk for children under 13 in schools (1950)
  • Wool Sales Deduction Scheme (1950/51)
  • Free medical treatment for pensioners (1951)
  • A 15-year Meat Agreement with Britain (1951)
  • Beef Roads Development Program in Qld, NT, WA and northern SA (1949-74)
  • The first medical benefits scheme (1953)
  • Expanded non-metropolitan primary, secondary and tertiary education facilities, notably establishment of the University of New England (1954)
  • Expansion of manufacturing and secondary industries (1955-65)
  • Introduction of television (1956)
  • Australia-Japan Agreement on Commerce (1957)
  • Reserve Bank of Australia and Commonwealth Banking Corporation (1958)

Sources:
Various Country, National Country and National Party election policy speeches 1923-2007; select Commonwealth budget papers; select Commonwealth departmental websites; Bills Digest, Commonwealth Parliamentary Library; select media releases; National Party of Australia archives, Federal Secretariat, Canberra.