Lithgow residents are entitled to know why their town was overlooked as the location for Barnaby Joyce's Regional Investment Corporation (RIC), Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Australia Joel Fitzgibbon said.
“If Joyce is determined to waste $28 million of taxpayers' money, why not do it in Lithgow?” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“What does Orange have that Lithgow doesn’t have? What was the selection criteria and process? These are the questions residents will be asking.”
Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, said he would be excited to see the RIC in the Central West in 2018, “bringing with it about 30 skilled jobs initially, with the capacity to grow as needed”.
According to the announcement on May 19, the role of the RIC will be to streamline the delivery of up to $4 billion in concessional loans designed to secure economic growth, investment and resilience in rural and regional communities across Australia.
It will administer the government’s $2 billion farm business concessional loans from 2018–19, as well as the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.
Mr Fitzgibbon labelled the announcement as an exercise in “pork barrelling”.
“If the RIC requires more than 100 employees to process loans, they will be the most expensive and inefficient public servants in the history of the Federation,” he said.