Shadow Minister for Transport, Ken Vowles, today called on the CLP Government to fast-track the implementation of all of the outstanding safety recommendations from the Review of Safety and Security on the Darwinbus Network Interchanges that were announced last September.
“The CLP have dragged their heels on the issue of public transport safety,” Mr Vowles said.
“It has been a year since a serious incident on a female driver triggered a safety audit and since bus drivers are facing increased attacks.
“The CLP Government has not prioritised implementing the recommending safety improvements.”
Mr Vowles said many of the serious offences against drivers and passengers can be linked to alcohol, with public drunkenness and alcohol related violence being out of control in Darwin and Palmerston.
“The latest crime statistics show that under the CLP assaults in Darwin are at their highest number in the history of data collection,” Mr Vowles said.
“1896 assaults occurred last year, an increase of 20 per cent since the CLP Government came to power. This staggering amount of violence is affecting every aspect of our community, including public Transport.
“Seventy per cent of incidents on our bus system occur away from public interchanges and drivers rightly want more safety officers and more preventative actions to stop drunks and problem passengers getting on buses.
“One of the safety audit recommendations was to establish a working group of Police, Larrakia Nation Patrols and stakeholders to address anti-social behaviour – this needs to be urgently implemented and consideration given to extra patrols to stop drunks getting on buses.
“The CLP Government needs to release an implementation report outlining what measures have been put in place to date and what is still outstanding.
“Territory Bus drivers and passengers deserve a stronger focus on their safety not just knee jerk reactions after incidents.
“The CLP Government needs to stop ignoring the evidence on the streets and in the crime stats that public drunkenness is out of control and unfortunately our public transport system is bearing the brunt.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie today slammed Chief Minister Adam Giles for failing to act appropriately on allegations surrounding former Police Commissioner John McRoberts and has called on him to resign.
“If the CLP Government don’t instigate an independent judicial inquiry then the Labor Opposition will move a motion to create one in the February Sittings of Parliament in a fortnight that has powers to question the Chief Minister about what he knew and when, Ms Lawrie said.
Ms Lawrie said it was outrageous that Adam Giles chose to go on holiday rather than get to the bottom of rumours he had heard about the former Police Commissioner.
"Why did Mr Giles go on holiday rather than seek an explanation from the former Police Commissioner?" Ms Lawrie asked.
"Exactly what was the rumour he heard and from whom?
"The integrity of our Police is paramount and for Mr Giles to ignore rumours and instead go on holiday shows appalling judgement which reinforces he is not up to the job of governing our great Territory.
"It's time to restore public confidence. For this to occur Mr Giles should resign and the CLP Government should instigate an Independent Judicial Inquiry to investigate these serious allegations."
Ms Lawrie said that the clumsy attempts by Mr Giles to sweep these serious matters under the carpet were damaging the Territory's reputation.
"Territorians deserve to know the truth and the only way to get to truly uncover what has occurred is a judicial inquiry," Ms Lawrie said.
"So many questions remain unanswered as to exactly what Mr Giles had heard.
"What is unacceptable is that he failed to act and it took Acting Chief Minister Peter Chandler to raise the matters with the former Police Commissioner which led to his resignation.
"From his unbelievable denials over CLP slush fund Foundation 51 to his failure to act now, Mr Giles has shown he simply can't be trusted."
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie has called on the CLP Government to immediately at the very least conduct an independent Judicial Inquiry under the Inquiries Act into serious allegations of interference in a criminal investigation that led to the resignation of former Police Commissioner John McRoberts.
“It beggars belief that the Chief Minister Adam Giles was unaware of these concerns prior to 9 January when he has also admitted he’d heard ‘rumours’. What rumours and when? If Adam Giles had heard rumours concerning the former Police Commissioner then he failed to act and should resign,” Ms Lawrie said.
“This is a grave matter that is descending into farce and impacting on the reputation of the Northern Territory.”
Ms Lawrie expressed concern that the CLP Government had not admitted that the Commissioner for Public Interest Disclosure had to step aside because of a conflict of interest until after it was exposed by the NT News.
“How is it acceptable that a matter of such grave concern is now split between three Government agencies, each with separate powers, rather than a single independent judicial Inquiry?
“If the CLP Government don’t instigate an independent judicial inquiry then the Labor Opposition will move a motion to create one in the February Sittings of Parliament, in a fortnight, that has powers to question the Chief Minister about what he knew and when.
“Territorians deserve to have these serious allegations investigated with transparency, independence and accountability by an independent judicial officer who has the powers to question Ministers of the Crown.”
Opposition Leader, Delia Lawrie, today called on the Member for Blain, Nathan Barrett, to fully disclose all details surrounding the $10,000 loan he received from Foundation 51 Director, Graeme Lewis.
Ms Lawrie said Territorians deserved to know the truth following conflicting public comments between Mr Barrett and Mr Lewis over the payment, with Mr Barrett saying he accepted the $10,000 loan from Mr Lewis – a man he says he had never met before - while Mr Lewis is reported as saying: “he was a friend of mine ….I knew him quite well”.
According to an NT News report today, Mr Barrett said the terms of the loan were: “If you win, pay it back as soon as you can. If you don’t win, we’ll call it a day and you know, I lost 10 grand – which I thought was pretty good of him but I had actually never met him before that.”
Ms Lawrie said that in the interest of transparency and accountability Mr Barrett owes a full explanation of all the details of the loan to residents of Blain and the Northern Territory Parliament.
He needs to answer the following questions:
Who was the mutual friend and party member who introduced Mr Barrett to Mr Lewis?
On what day was the offer of the $10,000 made?
On what day did Mr Barrett accept the Loan?
Was a loan contract drawn up, and if so, will he publicly release it?
When did he actually receive the loan?
When did he repay the loan?
Ms Lawrie said that these revelations about a $10,000 loan were extraordinary.
“Has any other member of the CLP parliamentary team received a donation or loan from Graeme Lewis or Foundation 51?” Ms Lawrie asked.
“The Chief Minister Adam Giles needs to come out of hiding and demand that his Parliamentary Secretary reveal all details.”
The Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today questioned whether Adam Giles has taken leave to avoid facing scrutiny over the handling of a spate of issues that have underpinned this month.
“Deputy Chief Minister, Peter Chandler, and new Education Minister, Robyn Lambley, have been left behind to clean up the CLP Government’s mess,” Ms Lawrie said.
“It is extraordinary that the Chief Minister could dump the responsibility of the travel agent scandal that prompted the resignation of Police Commissioner, John McRoberts, to his deputy. Can you imagine any other government leader not returning from leave to deal with such a major issue?
“With many questions about the scandal outstanding the Chief Minister Adam Giles has remained in hiding.
“Adding to the drama-packed January, this week’s $23 million backflip on Global School Budgets has happened while the Chief Minister, who is also Treasurer, is missing in action. The Government knew there was a shortfall last year, so why the delay until Adam Giles was away?
“With violent crime escalating across Darwin and Palmerston and some liquor outlets introducing their own supply reduction measures will the new Police Minister and Acting Chief Minister, Peter Chandler, increase police numbers by 120 as promised in the election but reneged on by Adam Giles?
“The EBA disputes between the Government and firefighters and paramedics should have been resolved before Christmas, but they are still dragging on so now is the chance for the Acting Chief Minister to clean up that mess too.
“Territorians are heartily fed up with the chaos of the Giles Government and a clean-up is long overdue. Restoring funding to education should be just the start.”
Shadow Minister for Local Government, Gerry McCarthy, today called on the CLP Government to step in and provide leadership to help resolve the uncertainty at the Litchfield Town Council.
“Litchfield residents are not being represented effectively at a local government level because of the internal council conflict,” Mr McCarthy said.
“This prolonged dispute has now spilled over to the public domain and it needs to be resolved as quickly as possible so that a functioning council is restored.”
“The Local Government Act provides the Minister with powers that need to be exercised to resolve this dispute. Has a departmental team been instigated to mediate a resolution?”
“There have been several Ministers for Local Government through CLP Cabinet reshuffles and support for councils and shires has floundered rather than strengthened.”
Mr McCarthy said, “that the CLP has consistently mismanaged the Local Government portfolio with neighbouring Councils the Victoria-Daly Regional Council shedding jobs after boundary changes and the West Daly Regional Council needing financial ‘top-up’ for sustainability.”
“The CLP Government need to stop failing ratepayers and step up to the task of supporting Councils in crisis and Litchfield is definitely in need of Territory Government leadership and support to resolve this uncertainty affecting residents.”
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, is calling on the CLP Government to immediately publicly release the Terms of Reference for the investigation into allegations surrounding the former Police Commissioner John McRoberts.
“Territorians deserve to know the Terms of Reference for this investigation given the concerns surrounding the Police Commissioner’s resignation. This is a grave matter that needs transparency and accountability,” Ms Lawrie said.
“What are the timelines for this investigation and will a full or interim report be tabled in Parliament Sittings in February?”
Ms Lawrie said questions still remain about the extent of knowledge the CLP Government had of this issue before the former Police Commissioner’s resignation last week.
“Did Chief Minister Adam Giles know about this conflict of interest prior to handing over the Police portfolio to Peter Chandler?” Ms Lawrie asked.
“Who in Government is across the details of the allegations surrounding Mr McRoberts given that Minister Robyn Lambley provided comments to ABC News yesterday that: ‘He (John McRoberts) was involved in the initial planning for how, er, what the strategy would be around the investigation.’
“It is extraordinary that Adam Giles remains missing in action throughout this crisis and has failed to even issue a statement.
“This again highlights the Territory’s need for an ICAC style body that would possess the strong powers to investigate every aspect of this issue.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today called on the CLP Government to halt their bid to sell the Darwin Port and instead disclose details to Senate Inquiry into the privatisation of state and territory assets and new infrastructure which will be held in Darwin on 16 February.
“The Senate Inquiry into the privatisation of state and territory assets and new infrastructure, being chaired by Senator Sam Dastyari, will be holding a hearing in Darwin on 16 February,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Territorians have already suffered the arrogance of the CLP Government selling TIO without a mandate, and quickly the CLP are rushing ahead with moves to sell our Port.
“Three companies, including Deutsche Bank, have been reported to be interested in buying the Darwin Port assets and again the Chief Minister has not consulted with Territorians.
“If Adam Giles and the CLP Government have a genuine business case for the sale of the Darwin Port then they should take that to the Senate Inquiry.
“Territorians will also have an opportunity to make submissions to the Senate Inquiry detailing how the sale of the Territory’s public assets will affect them and their businesses.”
Ms Lawrie said Labor is steadfastly opposed to the privatisation of these assets as it would be against the Territory’s interests with resultant job losses and a higher cost of living.
“We’d see job losses at the Port and a private company reaping profits through increased Port freight costs that would be passed on to consumers and businesses,” Ms Lawrie said.
“The Port is just starting to hit its straps, generating a record $17 million profit last year. Port revenue could be used to invest in our schools and hospitals.
“We know Adam Giles is also setting up our PowerWater assets for sale and he needs to explain to the Senate Inquiry how he would prevent tariff increases and replace revenue once he’s sold off our assets.
“How would a Government regulate a monopoly owner to ensure we all don’t suffer from profit gouging?”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
The CLP Government has today admitted they plunged our schools into crisis and are scrambling to restore funding cuts to education with an immediate $23 million investment to avoid a disastrous start to the 2015 school year.
COGSO representing Territory families, the Australian Education Union representing teachers, the CPSU representing staff and Territory Labor all railed against the cuts to education being delivered through the CLP Government’s Global School Budgets and were told we were simply “scaremongering” and this backflip today is an admittance the CLP got it horribly wrong.
“For months the pleas of Territory teachers, parents, students and school councils fell on the deaf ears of former Minister for Education, Peter Chandler,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Despite the CLP Government repeatedly saying that no school would be worse-off under the Global School Budgets model, schools budgets were plunged into the red and school councils bravely fought budget cuts to staff and programs prior to Christmas.
‘Many School Councils wrote to the CLP Government to inform them of budget problems caused by Global School Budgets and to reject this form of funding.
“Now, with just days to go before students return to school, the CLP Government does a $40 million backflip to patch up the Education crisis they created.”
Ms Lawrie said since May last year Labor, the AEU and COGSO had strongly opposed the cuts being delivered through the new Global Schools Budgets model, pointing out the harm it would cause the Territory’s education system.
“Territory students deserve an education system that is appropriately funded to provide them with the best opportunities and education outcomes available,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Under the CLP Government schools have suffered back-to-back funding cuts that have taken their toll.
“Labor values education and has always made it an investment priority. We’ve had two years of chaos under the CLP. This is a victory for our educators.”
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today said while the Territory shares the top spot in Commsec's State of the States economic performance report, this was due to the major INPEX project delivered by Labor.
"However, the CLP have dropped the ball and failed to deliver a new project or spread the benefits to Territorians who are struggling under a high cost of living," Ms Lawrie said
"The economic benefits we are currently enjoying in the Territory are off the back of the construction phase of the Labor delivered Ichthys project but the crucial small and medium size businesses are doing it tough.
"Territory businesses are looking to what will be the next major project to sustain economic growth and simply can’t see anything being delivered by the CLP Government.
"The CLP made a huge mistake in scrapping plans for the new city of Weddell which would have provided much needed construction work for Territory businesses.
"The CLP have scrambled after two years of inaction to pursue the Berrimah Farm development which is still years off from delivery and may be too late to retain the Territory businesses that are doing it tough.
"While they may try to reap the accolades of this peak in economic activity, unless there is immediate action, Territory businesses will be the hardest hit by the trough on the other side."
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211