24 February 2016 - The CLP’s announcement today of a Multi-Storey car park at Royal Darwin Hospital is too little and too late.
“The CLP introduced the incredibly problematic car parking system at RDH when they first got into government and it was one of their dumbest decisions to date and has caused undue stress to Territorians,” said Lynne Walker.
“Territory Labor has already committed to build a Multi-Story car park at RDH and it will be free, unlike the model the CLP are proposing.
“In a blatant move to try and cover their disastrous mistakes just six months out from the election, this CLP Government is trying to rectify all the problems they caused in the first place but they’re still failing.
“Today is just further proof that you cannot trust the CLP to deliver on health.
You cannot trust the CLP to deliver health services for Territorians.
Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
23 February 2016 - Labor Leader Michael Gunner has said that a Labor Government will employ 6 small business mentors to support the growth of small business in the Territory.
“There is no one better to get people through the processes of government than the government itself.
“Labor’s small business mentors will work with small business operators to guide them through the issues they will face starting out in business,” Michael Gunner said.
Speaking at Darwin Tactical Shop with business owner Colin Rogan Jnr, Michael Gunner laid out a 10 point plan focused on championing the growth of small business with critical support in its establishment phase.
“This focus will ensure that small business in the Territory will be given a greater chance of establishing and succeeding once established,” Mr Gunner said.
“In addition to this plan Labor has already announced that we will focus on Territory business receiving greater support from the Government procurement program.”
“Unlike the CLP, whose procurement board will only review contracts $5 million and above, Labor’s Local Content Board will be empowered to review all contracts, audit the practices of government procurement and recommend new training programs to ensure local content is the highest priority.”
Media contact: Gino Luglietti – 0401 119 794
18 February 2016 - Shadow Minister for Government Accountability Nicole Manison today called on new Land Resource Management Minister Gary Higgins to restore trust to the portfolio in the wake of the damage to the Northern Territory’s reputation caused by his predecessor, the Member for Katherine, Willem Westra Van Holthe.
Ms Manison called on Minister Higgins to reveal all the details surrounding recent media revelations that Tropical Forestry Services’ (TFS) sandalwood project had received Major Project status.
“The new Minister for Land Resource Management has an opportunity to repair the damage caused by the scandal surrounding Mr Westra Van Holthe’s conflict of interest as the previous Minister,” Ms Manison said.
“He must also urgently act to ensure Territorians, businesses and potential investors have absolute confidence that the processes by which water and other valuable natural resources are allocated are open, transparent and economically and environmentally sound.
“Given the CLPs appalling record of awarding water without proper processes and ignoring the science around issues of sustainability, it’s crucial that Minister Higgins assures Territorians that Major Project status for the TFS sandalwood project will have an open and transparent process of water allocation. He must answer:
“Territorians want to see clear and transparent decisions made when it comes to do the allocation of water, and the new Minister has an opportunity to do this and address these serious concerns that have been raised.”
Launching the Territory Labor Health policy position paper, Healthy, Strong Communities, Deputy Labor Leader and Shadow Health Minister, Lynne Walker, pledged to make significant inroads into health promotion, prevention and early intervention services to reduce the high rates of chronic disease associated in the Northern Territory.
“Territory Labor will seek to tackle the big issues affecting the health of Territorians and we will do so in consultation with Territorians,” Ms Walker said.
“This position paper builds on the long term approach that was outlined in Territory Labor’s Early Childhood and Remote Housing position papers released last year. We know that we have to invest better and smarter across our health services and improve housing environments in remote communities, otherwise we won’t make inroads into closing the gap on the health of Territorians.”
“That’s why this Health position paper outlines targets for a child and adolescent health plan, with a particular focus on reaching those vulnerable children in out of home care, youth detention or crisis accommodation.
“Territory Labor will invest significantly into our health workforce, supporting skills development, building career pathways specific to our health requirements and supporting specialisation in nursing, Aboriginal Health Practitioners and Aboriginal Community Workers.
“Territory Labor has already committed to 500 scholarships to train local nurses, police and teachers as the backbone of all communities as part of our Jobs Plan released two weeks ago. Our partnerships with the tertiary sector will be critical in delivering on the health needs of Territorians.
“We know that planning needs to start now to replace our ageing Royal Darwin Hospital. We will finalise detailed business planning in our first term, along with supporting master planning for all hospitals in the Northern Territory.
“Territory Labor will incorporate major capital works as part of our 10 year infrastructure plan, supporting local jobs and investment. Our capital works and equipment replacement program will be driven by clinical and population health needs, not politics. This includes:
“A Territory Labor will drive down elective surgery and emergency department wait times by finishing the delivery of the Palmerston Hospital, and investing in strategies such as improving our information systems, role redesign and partnerships with the broader health sector to reduce demand.
“We will support the expansion of aged care places in partnership with the private sector, as a way to improve the availability of places for our elders and reduce bed block in our hospitals. We will consider a nurse to patient ratio in aged care settings to improve the quality of care in our aged care facilities.
“Territory Labor will implement key recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiries into Youth Suicide, Ice and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder that have not been progressed and support the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.”
Partnerships will be a feature of Territory Labor’s approach to delivering health services:
“NGOs and peak body organisations are at the frontline of supporting Territorians to lead healthy lifestyles. It just makes sense to ensure Government has strong partnerships with these organisations,” Ms Walker said.
12 February 2016 - Opposition Michael Gunner said today Deputy Chief Minister Willem Westra Van Holthe has misled Parliament and must immediately stand down.
"Further media revelations today show that despite telling Parliament he had never received hospitality from the CT group, the Deputy Chief Minister apparently accepted accommodation, tours, transfers and dinners from the CT Group," Mr Gunner said.
"The Vietnam based CT Group is the same business that the Deputy Chief Minister had an official Government relationship with. At the time of this trip he was also actively considering making a private $650 000 investment with the CT Group.
"The Deputy Chief Minister's position is untenable.
“He has breached the Ministerial Code of Conduct, possibly committed an offence under the Criminal Code and now he has misled parliament.
“Every day this saga drags on the reputation of the Northern Territory as a place to do business is seriously damaged.
"The Chief Minister has run out of options to cover up for his Deputy. He must stand him down and refer the matter to police immediately.”
Media contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
7 February 2016 - Territory Labor Leader Michael Gunner said Adam Giles and the CLP have betrayed local business by handing the $40 million Government travel contract to an interstate corporation.
“It’s a complete breach of the ‘Buy Local’ campaign and Adam Giles has put small local operators out of business. Territorians have lost jobs as a result of this move,” Mr Gunner said.
“Adam Giles and the CLP don’t support local industry – they’re all talk and no action.
“The Territory cannot afford to have $40 million ripped out of our local economy. It will mean fewer jobs and push more people to leave the Territory.
“The CLP need to stop this contract before it is too late.”
Mr Gunner today met with local agent Sandra Lew Fatt, whose business will close in June this year after over 40 years of operation due to the CLP’s decision to go south instead of supporting locals.
“Unfortunately Sandra has had to let all her staff go and can no longer afford office space in the city and her business will fully shut down by June this year,” Mr Gunner said.
“Sandra’s is just one example of a number of businesses who are closing down or have already closed.”
Michael Gunner said that a Territory Labor Government would return the contract to Territorians.
“Keeping money local isn’t just the right thing to do it also makes economic sense, because every dollar spent in the Territory stays in the Territory which supports and creates jobs.
“A Territory Labor Government will do everything in its power to return the $40 million Government Travel contract to locals. If the contract can be returned immediately I will do that. If the contract is already let and legally bound we will return it at the end of that contract period.
“Adam Giles still has time to stop this and support our local jobs and local business.
“I call on Adam Giles to show some leadership and do the right thing by cancelling this southern contract and supporting locals instead.”
4 February 2016 - Labor Leader Michael Gunner says he will develop a Small Business Champions Unit, whose job it will be to champion small business and hold a Labor Government to account from within.
“Small business is the driver of the Territory’s jobs and economic growth. But they are not heard by the CLP Government,” Mr Gunner said.
“Labor will restructure the Department of Business to create a specialised unit dedicated to championing the cause of small business.
“The Small Business Champions Unit will work with small business to hear their issues and then champion those causes within government.
“I expect this unit to:
Michael Gunner said that Labor will also support small business by:
“Small Business will have more representation and levels of support than ever before under a Territory Labor Government,” Michael Gunner said.
Mr Gunner also launched Labor’s economic framework, the Northern Territory Jobs Plan.
Approximately 6,500 jobs will be directly supported each year and a similar amount again in indirect jobs. In total these plans support around 12,000 to 14,000 jobs a year just from Government infrastructure investment alone.
In addition to the 12,000 to 14000 jobs, these initiatives are designed to leverage private sector investment which will see further jobs created throughout the implementation of our plan.
“Labor has a clear plan for the future of the Territory,” Mr Gunner said.
“This plan has been drafted in consultation with many people. It is considered, fiscally responsible and focuses on long term outcomes.
“It is a plan based on growing the Territory, supporting our children so we can tackle the underlying issues affecting our social and economic development and restoring the trust of Territorians in the actions of government- a trust the CLP has smashed in its 3 and a half years in office.
“Today we have set the directions for our first term. We are providing detailed plans. Labor is providing more information than any Opposition has ever done. And we are providing it early so Territorians can see what Labor plans to do in a transparent and open way.
“Engagement with Territorians is a crucial element of our strategy. We will hold an Economic Summit shortly after the election to ensure that key leaders engaged in the Territory economy have their input and say and we are all united on the way forward. Economic policy is too important to be done by thought bubble and policy on the run.
“We will work with the non-government sector, indigenous health organisations and experts from across the nation to set into place an Early Childhood Plan that Labor will properly resource over the next ten years.
“We will act swiftly on restoring trust by creating the architecture of open government and by changing the way government behaves and acts. There will be no midnight coups, no 21 reshuffles, no constant infighting and bickering in the Labor Government I lead.”
Michael Gunner said that the CLP’s behavior, approach to government and treatment of Territorians meant that the biggest risk to the Territory is four more years of CLP Government.
“An election gives Territorians the opportunity to reset and refocus its government. I am urging Territorians to support Labor’s plans for the future.”
1 February 2016 - Opposition Leader Michael Gunner today announced that a Territory Labor Government will develop the Northern Territory into world’s premier destination to experience Indigenous arts and culture, beginning with a commitment to creating Australia’s iconic National Indigenous Art Gallery in Alice Springs.
“Labor will develop Alice Springs as Australia’s inland capital,” Mr Gunner said.
“An iconic National Indigenous Art gallery is part of that plan. When people arrive in Australia they will know that to experience indigenous art and to see firsthand the skills, knowledge and culture of Australia’s indigenous people they will need to come to Alice Springs and the Northern Territory.
“Labor will engage with the Alice Springs and Central Australian community, particularly indigenous people and their representatives in the design and development of this project.
“We will also engage with other national galleries, major national companies and the Australian government to ensure we are maximizing input from across the country.
“In addition to a National Indigenous Art Gallery in Alice Springs, we will develop a significant Indigenous Arts Trail right across the Territory. Labor will work with the people of Tennant Creek, Katherine and East Arnhem Land to ensure those communities are properly linked to this trail.
“We will work with established galleries in indigenous communities to ensure that visitors to the Territory know that some of the world’s best art is on the shelves of some of the Territories remote communities. These projects will be linked and form an Indigenous Art trail across the Territory.
“We will have a grants program that will allow art galleries in communities to upgrade their facilities, their back of house production areas, put in dining areas and café and improve their displays.
“Indigenous art centers are important centers of knowledge which intrinsically link language, law, land and culture through a rich and long history of art. These centers are integral to sharing and preserving that history while providing significant economic leverage.
“These undertakings will increase tourism, create and support hundreds jobs during the construction phase and brings added attention to smaller, private or community owned galleries and galleries based in communities as part of a Territory wide promotion.
“Territory Labor’s vision will strengthen our local economy as more visitors around the country and around the world decide to choose the NT as the premier place to visit to experience one of the world’s oldest cultures.”
Michael Gunner indicated strong support from a future Labor Government for the development of a National Indigenous Cultural Centre based in Alice Springs.
“I am aware of the enormous work already put into this project by an Indigenous led group of Centralians and I am happy to back that work,” Mr Gunner said.
“In Government Labor will assist with the consultations around this National Cultural Centre, we will provide legal and financial advice where required and we will ensure that the iconic National Indigenous Art Gallery and the National Indigenous Culture Centre are linked and developed cooperatively.”
Michael Gunner said Labor would spend the first three years of its first term getting the details around the National Indigenous Art Gallery right, including site, design, contributions from across Australia and connection to other facilities.
“I expect the construction to be getting underway by 2020,” Mr Gunner said.
“Labor will commit $100 million to getting the capital works in place to develop the stage one of this National Indigenous Arts Trail.
“Those capital funds will get the National Indigenous Art Gallery in Alice Springs built, make a financial contribution to the National Indigenous Cultural Centre and get work started in regional centers.”
28 January 2016 - Documents obtained under Freedom of Information (FOI) show the CLP’s taxpayer funded “On Track” advertisements have cost Territorians well over $200,000, as of September 2015.
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability Nicole Manison said the ‘On Track’ adverts should not be paid for by Territory taxpayers.
“Adverts of a political nature should be paid for by political parties, not tax payers,” Ms Manison said.
“These FOI documents show that the messaging in these adverts is about political spin and should not have been paid for by tax payers.”
“These adverts have costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. By mid-September last year cost of the production and advertising buy was $200,000.
“The ‘On Track’ advertising campaign has continued to run and the spend is now hundreds of thousands of dollars more – and paid for by Territorians.
“These documents also show there are concerns about correct procurement processes being followed as well.
“The ‘On Track’ ads are clearly political and we have referred them to the Auditor-General to determine whether they breach the Public Information Act.
“We will also be referring questions around the Government’s procurement rules to the Auditor-General.”