By MATT NICHOLLS
EXPECT the worse and settle for anything above that.
That’s the message from New England MP Barnaby Joyce ahead of next week’s federal budget.
Mr Joyce said there would be no money allocated for the redevelopment of the Armidale Hospital and the electorate should not get its hopes up about any major announcements.
“Basically anything that’s not life and death will be stripped back or taken away and then we’ll have to fight to get it back,” he said.
“Projects like (upgrading the New England Highway) Bolivia Hill and the Armidale Airport will still go ahead.
“I’m also making sure that funding doesn’t get stripped from the University of New England.”
Mr Joyce said Australia had no choice but to tighten its belt.
“In 2009 I lost my job as the Shadow Finance Minister because I forecast that this was going to happen,” he said.
“Everyone laughed and giggled at me, but I was the only accountant in the place.”
Mr Joyce said the previous Federal Government should be blamed for hurting the country’s financial position, but also shouldered some of the responsibility himself.
“Maybe I should have been louder in my approach,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Joyce will be at the Armidale Golf Club tomorrow night to speak to the business community.
As part of the Armidale Business Chamber’s series of “pub chats”, a big crowd is expected to hear the MP speak.
For more information, go to www.armidalechamber.com.au