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Joyce counters economic debate hijack

AAP logoAAP 18/09/2016

Environmental "extremists" have hijacked Australia's economic debate to ignore the overwhelming contributions of agriculture and mining.

Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce wants people to recognise regional development and natural resources will continue to drive economic growth as the nation transitions out of the mining boom.

That transition will build on existing economic resources such as agriculture and mining, Mr Joyce writes in an opinion piece for AAP.

"A new economy is a bigger more diverse and more resilient economy; it is not a replacement economy," he says.

"There has, over the past few decades, been a hijacking of the debate that sidesteps the fact that agriculture and mining have been - and will continue to be - overwhelmingly our nation's economic providers."

He says that "hijacking" has been embraced by Labor and is becoming entrenched in government bureaucracies.

But Mr Joyce wants Australians to be as proud of the country's natural resources as they are of its natural beauty and environment.

Growing regional areas is the key to expanding the economy.

"If we are to grow the regions, then we need to start questioning many cultures, many attitudes, many ingrained government processes, and many assumptions that I fear have gone unchecked and can take our regions to a standstill," he says.

"It's time for Australia to have a frank discussion about removing the bureaucratic hurdles, the ingrained cultures and the agenda-driven assumptions that are holding back the pace of regional development: holding back the dams, the railways, the mines, the ports and the roads.

During the election campaign, there was concern from some sectors of the community that established industries were being overlooked in favour of building new, innovative industries.

Mr Joyce will visit regional Queensland for three days from Monday to spread the economic message.

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