Labor will never match the Coalition's spending in regional Australia because it doesn't have the representatives in parliament to fight for it, a Liberal minister has said in an election-eve pitch to country voters.
In an exclusive interview with Australian Community Media, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor also argued that while climate change was an important issue for voters outside the major cities, cost of living and national security would be front of mind at the ballot box.
Mr Taylor, who represents the southern NSW seat of Hume, says Australia's regions are riding a new wave of prosperity on the back of billions of dollars of infrastructure investment and the arrival of people escaping capital cities amid sky-rocketing house prices.
In a message to voters considering Labor, the Greens or climate-focused independents at the upcoming election, Mr Taylor warned that only a re-elected Liberal-National government would maintain the momentum.
Labor's regional development spokeswoman, Catherine King, rejected Mr Taylor's claims as she attacked the Morrison government for overlooking four states in the centrepiece of its budget for regional Australia.
Speaking from the Taralga Showgrounds, Mr Taylor claimed the Coalition's hold on the majority of seats outside the major cities meant it was the only side of politics capable of properly supporting regional and rural Australia.
"Areas like this [Hume] offer a wonderful, wonderful lifestyle and we're investing heavily in that," Mr Taylor said.
"The other side of politics never has and never will. Whether it's with a Greens-Independent-Labor coalition, whatever form it comes in, it's not capable of making those investments because it doesn't have the representatives from these regions [in the Federal Parliament].
"So if you want strong, regional and peri-urban areas like I have in this electorate ... you have to vote for our side of politics".
Mr Taylor highlighted two projects in his electorate, the new Goulburn performing arts centre and the Western Sydney Airport, as the types of investments which were underpinning a revival in regional Australia.
The Coalition's pre-election federal budget included funding for new dams and transport projects, as well as $7.1 billion to "turbocharge" four regional economies - the NT, North and Central Queensland, the Pilbara in WA and Hunter in NSW.
Responding to Mr Taylor's attacks, Ms King pointed out that three states - SA, Victoria, Tasmania - had been overlooked for funding under the package.
"The real difference between Labor and the government is that Labor will plan for the future of all regions, not just make an announcement for three of them," she said.
The Coalition has been accused of porkbarreling in the regions, with grants dolled out under its signature regional grants fund found to be heavily skewed to government-held seats.
Ms King told Australian Community Media that an Albanese government would spend taxpayer money based on community need, not political need.
As the government's front-man on climate change and energy policy, Mr Taylor is responsible for what a recent survey of Australian Community Media readers found would be the most important issue for voters at the upcoming election.
Mr Taylor said while "climate matters, obviously", the rising cost of living and national security were the main concern for voters in regional Australia.
Asked if that would be true for voters in parts of regional Australia devastated by natural disasters, including the bushfire-ravaged NSW South Coast, Mr Taylor doubled down.
"At the end of the day, people just want to know that the Australian government is doing its bit [on climate change]," he said.
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