Rudd, Abbott's policies don't deal with regional challenges

THE third of Australians who live outside the major cities have been largely ignored in both the major parties' election pitch, 17 days into the campaign.

While both Labor and the Coalition have made some funding pledges for infrastructure in regional areas, an overarching vision for regional Australia has been lacking.

Among the pledges both parties have signed up for were extra funding for the Bruce and Pacific hwys and proposals to develop "northern Australia".

But after more than two weeks on the campaign trail, neither Kevin Rudd nor Tony Abbott has released any policies to deal with the challenges faced in the regions.

This is despite the long-running poorer outcomes in regional areas in health, education and income levels continue to be poorer outside the capital cities.

While both parties have unveiled numerous policies in recent weeks tackling such issues at a national level, there has been no focus on what will be done for regional people.

And despite the Coalition not yet having requested any official costings of Treasury, Labor has.

One of the five policies Labor has put in for costing was an expansion of the Regional Development Australia Fund, for five new investments around the country.

Those investments totalled more than $22.5 million for community and sporting infrastructure grants.

Of those promised investments under a Rudd Government, the party has promised $3.5 million for a new local job initiative in Casino, New South Wales.

Voters living in regional, rural and remote areas, may have to wait a little longer to hear about new regional policies to address the tyranny of distance.

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