30 October 2015 - Shadow Minister for Alcohol Policy, Natasha Fyles, said the CLP’s continuing incompetence has led to the scrapping of Alcohol Mandatory Treatment (AMT) in Tennant Creek in an apparent admission of 3 years of wasteful mistakes.
“Just days after Territory Labor revealed that the CLP’s inability to govern was impacting on delivery of AMT, Minister Elferink has made the extraordinary announcement that the whole thing has been scrapped in Tennant Creek,” Ms Fyles said.
“We saw the CLP pass amendments to AMT on urgency nearly a year ago, but they were too busy infighting to sort out the regulations and allow health professionals to refer people onto the AMT program.
“Now they’ve wasted millions of dollars on a program that everyone said wouldn’t work from the start.
“Minister Elferink says that the AMT program will be reviewed, but there has still not been an announcement about the successful tenderer for an independent evaluation of the program.
“The unworkable AMT policy has been scandal-ridden from the start. It’s our understanding that there have been zero referrals to the Darwin AMT centre for some time – is that going to be scrapped next?
“One has to wonder how John Elferink even keeps his job. In the past few months we’ve seen:
“The CLP are unable to govern. They are blinded by bad politics and bad policies.
“By contrast, NT Labor's comprehensive response to alcohol substance abuse, the Banned Drinker's Register, is accepted by the community and accepted by health professionals and the police.
“A Territory Labor Government will put an end to “thought bubble” politics. We will listen and consult, gather evidence and then act.”
Media Contact: Ella Maguire 0408 773 647
28 October 2015 - Shadow Minister for Alcohol Policy, Natasha Fyles, said that CLP amendments passed on urgency in November 2014 to give health professionals the ability to refer Territorians to Alcohol Mandatory Treatment (AMT) facilities are still not in effect 11 months later.
“To pass something on urgency and not act on it 11 months later speaks directly to the Giles Government’s incompetence and is further proof that they can’t be trusted to perform to the most basic of functions,” said Natasha Fyles.
Back then the CLP argued the amendments on urgency were designed to “strengthen and increase the referral pathways to AMT” - a key recommendation of a Review of the Act commissioned by the Government and delivered in March 2014.
The urgent AMT Bill sought to amend Section 8 of the Act and insert:
(d) is, in accordance with procedures prescribed by regulation:
(i) referred by a health practitioner to a senior assessment clinician for an assessment; and
(ii) taken to an assessment facility
This latest error is in addition to a number of scandals associated with the establishment of this unworkable policy, including:
“There are also claims that as a result of capital works to protective custody police facilities in Darwin, there have been zero referrals to the Darwin AMT center for some time, which means:
“The incompetence of this CLP Government has left Territorians without the most basic levels of service we all rightfully expect. The sad truth is that no one trusts the CLP to follow through on anything they say.”
Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
27 October 2015 - It has been 88 days since CLP Ministers received written questions on notice asking whether they had received gifts, benefits or a discount from or persons associated with Latitude Travel – and to date only four out of eight have provided answers.
“Under standing orders of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, written questions should be answered within 30 days,” Shadow Minister for Government Accountability Nicole Manison said.
“There are four CLP Ministers now 58 days overdue on answering very clear and concise questions.”
The two questions put to all eight CLP Ministers are:
1: Have you ever received a gift, benefit or discount from Latitude Travel or anyone associated with Latitude Travel?
2: If so, would you please itemise and indicate the estimated value of each gift, benefit or discount received?
“Answers have been received from Adam Giles, Bess Price, Gray Higgins and Peter Chandler,” Ms Manison said.
“In contrast, David Tollner, John Elferink, Willem Westra van Holthe and Peter Styles have not provided answers to very simple and clear questions which are well overdue.
“Territorians have the right to know the answer to these very simple questions."
26 October 2015 - Territory Labor Leader, Michael Gunner, said today that CommSec’s State of the State report highlights that Adam Giles and the CLP Government are incapable of taking full advantage of the Northern Territory’s economic potential.
“The Territory has amazing potential and should be leading the rest of the country in terms of prosperity and growth, but that relies on careful economic management and planning which is lacking from the current government,” Michael Gunner said.
CommSec State of the States report, Page 7, reads:
In contrast to NSW and Victoria, it is clear that both the Northern Territory and Western Australia are losing momentum.
The mining and energy sectors are transitioning from investment phase to production. But unlike NSW and Victoria, housing demand is not filling the void.
“The Chief Minister is at pains to say that we have the best performing economy in the country, and while that was true under the previous Government, we have now fallen to third position and there was a 7.4% slowdown on last year,” Mr Gunner said.
“With the former Labor Government’s management, the Territory was the place to be if you wanted a job, but that is no longer the case; with the latest data ranking the Territory’s jobless rate at 4th overall. This means the jobless rate is now 19% above decade averages.
“The report makes clear we now have the slowest population growth in the country and an 88% decrease on the last decade’s averages. Our population impacts on our spending patterns. Local business is the backbone of our economy but the report highlights the CLP have dropped the ball on capitalizing on the fact that the Territory is the best place in Australia to live.
This greatly impacts on the ability for local business to recruit and retain staff.
As a result, we have:
“I have recently outlined a suite of initiatives that a stable, planned and transparent Labor Government will deliver to support jobs and economic development. This includes:
Territory Labor Leader, Michael Gunner, made it clear that a Territory Labor Government will support the creation of jobs for Territorians to expand economic development and population growth.
“A future Labor Government will focus on innovation, supporting local business and embracing new technology,” Mr Gunner said.
26 October 2015 - The CLP’s Federal Member for Solomon, Natasha Griggs, has backflipped and joined Territory Labor’s call for Chief Minister and Minister for Major Projects, Adam Giles, to ‘please explain’ the failed stunt involving the Palmerston Hospital.
“Territorians deserve more from a Chief Minister that is always available to publicise a barramundi or tennis tournament but shirks his duty to address high-level critical health issues,” said Natasha Fyles.
“Territorians are tired of the stunts and spin; they just want the CLP to stop the infighting and buck-passing and build the Palmerston Hospital.
“The situation is now so dire that the CLP’s Member for Solomon, Natasha Griggs has now backflipped on her position on the stunt: from taking ownership and glowing praise to buck-passing and criticism.
On October 16, the CLP’s Natasha Griggs posted a video to her Facebook saying:
“This is another example of how the Territory Government and Federal Government are working together to deliver for Territorians.”
On October 25, on the Hospital, the CLP’s Natasha Griggs told Channel Nine News:
“I have asked Adam Giles for a ‘please explain’ because it’s not good enough.”
“As the saying goes, a week is a long time in politics, and the adage has been well proven today given that last week Natasha Griggs was happy to claim credit for the achievement, a stark contrast to today’s buck-passing and change of heart,” said Natasha Fyles.
“Territory Labor has previously called for Adam Giles to explain the Palmerston Hospital hole stunt.
“The fallout from the stunt isn’t limited to national embarrassment – future funding for Palmerston Hospital is now in question with the CLP’s credibly to deliver the hospital in tatters.
“The CLP clearly can’t be trusted to deliver the Palmerston Hospital, and Adam Giles has a number of questions to answer around the Major Project:
Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
25 October 2015 - Shadow Minister for Essential Services, Nicole Manison, said that it is understood the shareholding minister for PowerWater Corporation, David Tollner, is considering a submission to privatise part of Systems Control within PowerWater.
“Systems Control is vital to managing electricity supply and the privatisation of this asset could threaten coordination of response times to major blackouts – especially if ownership is transferred to external interest,” said Ms Manison.
“It’s a simple one for the CLP Government to address – if it’s not happening then David Tollner should come out and simply rule it out – end of story.
“While he’s at it, he should also rule out the future sale of any part of PowerWater, Territory Generation and Jacarna Energy.
“Territorians know that the CLP can’t be trusted not to sell off the assets of Territorians – and that’s why David Tollner must today rule out the privatisation of Systems Control.
“Territorians deserve to be kept in the loop when it comes to the sale of their assets. The reality is that this CLP Government is addicted to selling our private assets.
“That's why we are calling on David Tollner to rule out both the privatisation of part of systems control and the future sale of the PowerWater Corporation and its associated entities.”
Media Release: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
23 October 2015 - Shadow Corrections Minister, Natasha Fyles, labeled the 35th escape of prisoners from our Justice System since July last year as a crisis situation and called on the CLP’s John Elferink to take responsibility for his complete and utter failings of the Corrections portfolio.
'Since July last year there have been 35 escapes and one break-in of people detained in our justice system – this is no longer an issue, it’s a crisis and it’s clear the CLP Government can’t be trusted to keep Territorians safe,” said Natasha Fyles.
“The recent Correctional Services Annual report also highlighted the CLP Government's complete failure to meet their own target numbers which continues to add to their list of problems.
“The $34 million budget deficit in the Territory’s correctional services annual report highlights the failure of the CLP to effectively run the system.
“The prisoner imprisonment rate has increased to 903.5 prisoners per 100,000 from 847 in 2013/14– this is almost 5 times the national average. The proportion of Indigenous people in prison is 11 times the national average.
“It was budgeted that 75% of prisoners would participate in employment programs but only 48% of the 1,600 prisoners did.
“It was budgeted that 150 prisoners would participate in sentenced to a job but only 74 did.
“It was budgeted that 30% would participate in education but only 10% did.
“$3.8 million was allocated for youth justice diversion and rehabilitation grants. Only $2.85 million was expended and allocated to operational expenditure instead.
“The Family Responsibility Agreements program, hailed and highlighted in the Vita Review as a success, will not be monitored as an output from the 2015/16 budget.
“In 2014/15 - the budgeted for the delivery of 70 family responsibility agreements but only delivered 50.
“The CLP budgeted for 20 families case managed in Alice Springs but only case managed 14.
“They also budgeted for 40 families to be case managed in Darwin, but only delivered 22.
“The Youth Justice Framework was endorsed by the Government in May 2015 and is yet to be formally released – where is it? Why the delay?
“John Elferink and the CLP Government can’t be trusted to keep Territorians safe.”
22 October 2015 - Labor Leader Michael Gunner says the endorsement of Scott McConnell (Stuart) and Chansey Paech (Namatjira) means Centralian bush residents have the opportunity to elect two people who will bring experience in delivering for local residents, and give them a strong local voice in a new Government.
“I was born in Alice Springs and grew up in Tennant Creek. Chansey and Scott were also born in Alice Springs.
“Together with senior Labor Member Gerry McCarthy in the Barkly we will form part of a Government with a focus on Central Australia, its growth and its future,” Michael Gunner said.
“Our government will give all of Central Australia a voice.
“Both candidates have told me that the number one priority is more housing. And I agree.
"This is what we will do - more houses, better maintained, done by locals. I have tasked Chansey and Scott with the immediate job of working with their local communities on their housing priorities for the fully costed housing plan we will deliver before the next Territory election.
“This will complement and inform the extensive work that Gerry McCarthy, myself and the Territory Labor team have been doing.
“Over the last three years the CLP has dropped the ball on delivering houses, especially repairs and maintenance, to Territorians living in the bush.
“Housing in remote communities will form a significant part of the Territory infrastructure budget under a Labor Government. We will invest Territory funds in repairing existing housing and in building new houses.
“We will do this in a two stage way. First we will move quickly to deliver on immediate needs through increases to repairs and maintenance and the building of new housing in key priority areas in Central Australia
“At the same time we will be working on a longer term plan with local communities, local authorities and shires to develop their capacity to deliver housing.
“People in remote communities have told me that the delays in getting housing repairs and the confusion around what the rules are, and who to contact and speak to is now worse than ever. This needs to be fixed immediately. Over the long term it is better to deliver housing maintenance and repairs, and ultimately new housing, as locally as possible.
“We also see housing construction, repairs and maintenance as an important job creation initiative that will provide skills that can be used across a wide range of local jobs,” Michael Gunner said.
Michael Gunner said that a Labor Government will be focused on delivering services that improve the quality of life and create jobs in Central Australia.
“I have committed to a focus on the early childhood years and to supporting the world leading work being done in Central Australia by organisations such as AMSANT, Congress and other key Aboriginal organisations.
“I have also committed to restoring trust and integrity to government by making us the most open, transparent, evidence based and innovation driven government in the Territory’s history.
“With Scott McConnell, Chansey Paech and Gerry McCarthy the people of Central Australia will have a team committed to them in a Government that will have their interests at heart,” Michael Gunner said.
Media contact: Kent Rowe - 0409 813 881
22 October 2015 - Opposition Whip Natasha Fyles today called on the DPP to explain why Foundation 51 would not be prosecuted for breaches of electoral laws.
Ms Fyles said it was crucial that confidence in the electoral process and our justice system was maintained.
“Territorians rightly expect that the law is applied without fear or favour,” Ms Fyles said.
“Given that an investigation found a prima facie case and a reasonable prospect of conviction, it is entirely appropriate for the community to expect that the matter would go to court.
“Only a clear and full explanation of the DPP’s reasons not to proceed will give the community confidence that all Territorians are equal before the law.
Ms Fyles also highlighted the arrogant and dismissive attitude of the CLP Government as evidenced by former CLP Treasurer and Foundation 51 Director Graeme Lewis’s “slap on the wrist” comments.
“Today marks one year since the Adam Giles and his CLP Government broke their promise to have an inquiry into political donations,” Ms Fyles said.
“Graeme Lewis’ claims that he would have got a slap on the wrist and a $200 fine if found guilty of breach electoral laws, shows appalling arrogance and ignorance of the electoral act.
“These are serious offences that can carry up to 12 months imprisonment or fines in excess of $150 000.”
‘Graeme Lewis’ comments are typical of a CLP culture which thinks it is above the law and that the electoral act can be breached with impunity.
“While Adam Giles and the CLP remain in power, Territorians can have no confidence that the electoral process is open and transparent and their Government behaves with integrity.
Media contact: Gino Luglietti - 0401 119 794
21 October 2015 - Territory Labor Leader, Michael Gunner, today called on the CLP Chief Minister and Minister for Major Projects, Adam Giles to take responsibility and explain the complete shambles surrounding Richardson Park and Palmerston Hospital.
“Richardson Park and Palmerston Hospital fall under Major Projects status which Adam Giles has complete carriage of,” said Michael Gunner.
“Adam Giles has thrown Garry Higgins under a school bus over the Ludmilla Primary School and Richardson Park Oval disaster, and has flung John Elferink into a hole over the Palmerston Hospital scandal.
“The Chief Minister must stop ignoring his responsibilities and letting his ministers take the blame for projects which he has ultimate ownership of.
“The two debacles go to the heart of why Territorians don’t trust Adam Giles and the CLP to deliver for Territorians.
“Ultimately these major projects are directly tied to Adam Giles– he must stop avoiding his responsibilities and face the public today.”