20 July 2016 - Territory Labor Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Lauren Moss, pledged to halve the rate of suicide within the next 10 years in the Northern Territory.
As part of Territory Labor’s plan, we will:
“These measures are vitally important to reducing a person’s risk of suicide and supporting families and communities in response to a suicide.
“Territory Labor recognises that there is significant pressure on our inpatient facilities, so Territory Labor will pilot the Housing Accommodation Support Initiative that will provide funding for the NGO sector to support up to 200 people with a mental illness within public housing.
“This is an evidence based program that can dramatically reduce readmission to hospital for patients, improve their quality of life by staying well, and that of their neighbours by having their mental health better managed with greater NGO support. It’s a simple program and extremely effective.”
Labor will ensure greater inclusion of the voices of those with lived experience in policy and service design and delivery.
Territory Labor will also provide scholarships to support mental health specialisation by registered and enrolled nurses and for Aboriginal Health Practitioners and Aboriginal Community Workers to specialise in mental health support and care.
Costings for Territory Labor’s policy are as follows:
Nurse Family Partnerships
Securing headspace for Katherine
Implementation of the Housing Accommodation Support Initiative
** All other initiatives to be funded from within existing resources
Media contact: Cameron Angus 0404 021 192
15 May 2016 - Territory Labor will invest an additional $124 million over four years into Territory Schools, Labor leader Michael Gunner announced today.
“We want every child in the NT to have the best possible future. That’s why we put kids first at every opportunity,” Mr Gunner said.
“Labor will always place the future of Territory children at the centre of our Government.
“This significant investment in schools will provide children with more options and better education outcomes.
“It will restore the teachers that have been ripped out of schools and more resources for schools to support their students.
“We will inject $20 million per year over four years from 1 January 2017 directly into school budgets enabling 164 more teachers to be employed across the Territory,” Mr Gunner said.
“The balance of this $124 million commitment will be detailed in future education announcements.
“Education is at the core of Labor’s values. Our opponents have ripped teachers and funds out of the education system and Labor is determined to restore education to the highest order of Government priority.
“Under the CLP we have fewer teachers, less subjects and crowded classrooms. Labor puts kids first but the CLP puts kids last.
“Labor believes a fully functional and thriving education system is the key to the future of a strong economy. A good education is also vital to building a strong society.”
***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***
I rise today to speak on behalf of the thousands of Territorians who know they deserve a better Government.
Territorians deserve a Government with integrity and a Chief Minister that they can trust.
A Government that understands education is the key to unlocking the potential we all share.
A Government that has a plan to create and secure safe, high wage jobs for all Territorians.
A Government that invests in delivering health services right across the Territory because it’s the fair and decent thing to do.
And a Government that trusts and respects local decision making.
Labor is the party of jobs, growth, health and education.
We share the confidence of Territorians about our future and the determination to tackle the many challenges that lie ahead.
Today I will outline the values that would underpin the Labor Government I want to lead, and begin to give shape to some of the key policies we will develop with Territorians over the next 16 months.
These values will underpin Labor budgets.
We will listen to the aspirations of Territorians, and channel their ingenuity and creativity into strong policies for good government.
We look forward to having this mature conversation.
Restoring Integrity to Government
Territorians want and deserve a Government they can trust.
An open, accountable and transparent Government is essential for this trust to exist.
Without confidence in the integrity of public officials and without confidence in Government processes, it will not be possible for the Territory to meet the considerable challenges that we face and to grasp the opportunities that we share.
Not only is open government the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.
Open Government and the trust that it builds is the bedrock for the partnerships and collaboration we need as a community to improve the lives of all Territorians.
It is the only way we take advantage of modern technology and find new ways of connecting, engaging and organising Government.
Open and accountable government is a core Labor value.
That’s why we passed the Territory’s first ever Freedom of Information laws and introduced the first budget estimates process.
When the CLP came to power in 2012, they inherited the most open and transparent system of Government in the Territory’s history.
... and they have trashed it every day since.
Territorians do not trust this Chief Minister or his Government and hold no faith in the political institutions which are supposed to serve them.
Trust is critical in this budget, as it has been framed by the Chief Minister and the Treasurer. And they are asking Territorians to trust them to deliver the services Territorians need.
But they cannot- there is a trust deficit between this CLP Government and Territorians.
And there is a trust deficit between the Chief Minister and his colleagues.
The Member for Araluen said, and I quote:
“I have no faith in a government led by Adam Giles. I have stated publicly that I believe Adam Giles has no integrity. I stand by that statement. That alone is enough to mean he should not hold a position of community leadership.”
She went on to say:
“In addition to having no faith in the Chief Minister, I have no faith in the Treasurer, nor do I believe he is an appropriate person to be a leader in our community.”
Removing the stain this lack of integrity has left across our body politic requires a new approach to governing the Territory.
An approach that restores integrity, shines light on the processes of government and regains the community’s trust in our public officials and government.
Labor has begun to outline how we would begin this task in Government.
On coming to office Labor will introduce an independent body to deal with allegations of corruption, a body at arms lengths from politicians and public officials.
It will be called the Northern Territory Anti-corruption Commission.
This body will be structured to suit Territory circumstances.
My colleagues and I will seek input from Territorians into its shape and practice.
A body such as this is now an important feature of jurisdictions around the country except the Northern Territory- and this is a situation that should not continue.
I have publicly outlined reforms to overseas travel by Ministers.
To restore public trust in Ministerial travel a Labor Government will ensure that:
This is surely a basic set of rules that any government committed to accountability would undertake. Only a Government allergic to accountability would object to these rules.
The community must have confidence that all Territorians are treated without fear or favour by Government, and that the resources of Government are always employed in the public interest. They have the right to know that their dollars are being spent properly.
We will have further to say in the coming months about how we intend to restore integrity to Government and we look forward to discussing and refining our plans with Territorians.
Labor believes that education and training are the most important keys to changing people’s lives.
Unlike the CLP, we will invest in them.
Invest in the knowledge, creativity and ingenuity of Territorians. This is the best insurance in a complex, uncertain and volatile world.
And it’s the only way we can hope to fulfil our potential as a community.
My government will create a world class education system.
It will be planned in consultation with the educational experts we have and the community as a whole.
It will be long term. It will be a long journey and it will take time. We acknowledge that there are no quick fixes in education.
We will ensure good evaluation processes are also in place.
Investing in education today requires patience to see the results but we will make that investment.
The focus of our investment will be in our schools.
This government has made a lot of mistakes but none has been graver or more damaging to the future of our community than the attack on Territory schools.
I see it in every school council that I attend, every assembly, every event.
My colleagues and I hear it in the anxiety expressed to us by parents, teachers and principals.
Schools feel battered.
Educators feel they have borne the main brunt of every cut the government has made.
The CLP has ripped $82 million in real term from Government education since 2012.
The latest CLP budget cuts $7.5 million from Pre Schools and cuts $12 million from Primary schools.
Mr Speaker, this must stop.
I will detail Labor’s plans for investment in schools over the coming months.
I will do so in consultation with educators, students and parents.
In addition to investing in our schools Labor will be investing in knowledge, science and creativity right across the community, economy and at all stages of peoples life – before school, pre and primary school, secondary school, university, training and lifelong learning.
But I intend to define the next Labor Government by its commitment to the children of the Northern Territory.
The years between birth and four years of age are the most crucial in determining future educational, health and social achievement.
Get it wrong in these years and the impact can be life-long.
Get it right and the impact WILL be life-long.
I intend to lead a government that heavily invests in our youngest Territorians.
Just as our government, public service, non-government organisations and community come together to meet challenges such as cyclones I will bring the Territory together to address the future of our children.
It will be done collaboratively, in partnership with parents, educators, non-government organisations and service providers.
It will be done through engaging the Australian Government.
Labor will have a detailed, integrated, whole of government policy that drives our support for children.
This early childhood policy will have the goal of ensuring that on day one of term one of year one at school every child is able to learn, ready to learn and given the chance to unlock their potential.
This policy will work to support all children across the Territory.
It will ensure that those children who begin life behind due to social circumstances will be picked up and supported.
We will ensure that those who don’t reach the benchmarks by age 4 continue to get the support they need in the following early years.
It will also ensure that those who begin life comfortable, loved, protected and supported have the support to excel.
Investing in this stage of Territorians’ lives is the only way we will start to turn around the crime figures, educational disengagement, poor health, anti-social behaviour and substance abuse that confronts our community.
It is not just an investment in the future of those children, it is an investment in the future harmony, cohesion and productivity of our society.
It is a long term challenge.
And it will be hard.
But it is the right thing to do and Labor will do it.
This package will form a centre piece of our policy work over the next 12 months.
Among many other things it will see increased investment in the Families as First Teachers policy, another Labor success story.
It will ensure that all government agencies act together in a joined up way.
It will remove the silos between health and education and will focus on the child and their needs.
And we will work seamlessly with all levels of Government.
I look forward to detailing the elements of this policy in the future.
The right to be healthy and to be able to access quality health services is a core Labor value – Labor in the Northern Territory and Federally has a strong track record of delivering better health services.
From delivering Medicare and saving it from attacks at the Commonwealth level, to building the Alan Walker Cancer centre, securing funding for the Palmerston Hospital and investing expanding health services in the bush, Labor stands for healthier Territorians.
Investing in healthier Territorians is also the corner stone of a smarter, more prosperous and more harmonious community.
The 2015 Budget fails the health test.
We know that health costs rise higher than inflation. You really need to put in around 7% extra every year just to keep pace.
Last year the Government spent $70 million on primary health care last year. This year they are budgeting $64 million.
Our Top End Hospitals have been cut by $4m.
When you combine this budget with proposed slashing of Federal funding to this critical area there must be alarm about the support for health services.
The Federal government’s shift in hospital funding from an activity-based model that recognises the reality of health needs across the Territory, to a population based model with our funding determined by numbers is a bad, bad decision especially for the Territory.
I have outlined Labor’s approach to shifting the long term effort by investing in Territory children. We must tackle the causes of ill-health before it reaches our health clinics and hospitals.
In the meantime I expect Government to get on with the job of providing decent health services and building the Palmerston Hospital, hospital construction that would be well underway under a Labor Government.
The CLP has missed every deadline for the Palmerston Hospital.
Labor wants the government to get on with its promise of an upgrade to the existing children’s ward. We have seen little progress on this front.
Similarly we have seen no progress in the development of a new private hospital in Alice Springs, as promised by the CLP.
There is no progress in securing new funding for additional aged care beds, especially in Darwin, to help provide adequate services for our ageing population and reduce bed block in RDH
No movement on the CLP promise of a new Katherine hospital.
No progress in improving morgue facilities in the bush.
Critically we see continuing delays in the CLP accepting $10 million dollars in new federal funding for support of renal patients in the bush.
There have been five ministers for health. And this constant rotation and distraction has removed attention from the work required to get the health job done.
The CLP need to just get on with the job.
The most vulnerable Territorians deserve so much better from their Government.
Empowering local decision making
How we empower people living in the bush is an important decision for government.
Labor has listened to Territorians in the bush and in Government we will restore local decision making to the people on the ground.
A Labor Government will work with community members, the Chief Magistrate, magistrates and the legal profession to allow local courts to hold community courts where appropriate.
Under this model senior local community members will be invited to assist the court with sentencing. This will help empower community members to participate more fully in the justice system.
This will be a significant formal advancement on the informal arrangements some magistrates and community leaders already have that properly recognises the importance of traditional leadership and decision making.
We recognise every community is different and any move to change current arrangements will be done in careful consultation with communities.
In coming months we will make further announcements regarding restoring local decision to Territorians living in the bush.
Jobs and Training
Securing safe, well-paying jobs has been the Labor ethos for the 124 years of our existence.
Ensuring that our economy is strong and providing jobs and that people are skilled and ready to take them on is at the core of Labor’s values.
We have a solid record of driving training and job creation.
We have delivered major projects against the odds.
We delivered large infrastructure budgets focussed on supporting small and medium sized businesses as well as large projects because we acknowledge that they are the life blood of jobs across the Territory.
However, investing in infrastructure alone is not enough. Government’s need to invest in training so that Territorians can reap the benefit of the jobs that have been created.
One of the most important tasks a Government can undertake is to transition a student from school to a job or an unemployed person from unemployment to work.
In Government Labor will re-introduce Jobs Plans that focus on strategies to provide strong jobs growth and set clear jobs and training targets. That plan will be developed in partnership with industry, unions, investors and the community.
But critically, that plan will be backed up by a training plan that develops and skills Territorians from school age through their life.
The development of the Northern Territory will be hampered if we do not invest in training.
Labor will train Territorians to take on the jobs created by economic growth. Territorians must benefit from the riches produced by growth. Our priority will be to ensure that local people, as much as possible, benefit from the available jobs.
I went to school in the Territory, university in the Territory, got a job in the Territory and I want other Territory kids to have the same opportunity.
To achieve this Labor will invest in vocational learning and vocational education and training in our schools.
70 per cent of Territory students transition from school to a job or further training at the end of their 12 years of education.
We will ensure that those young people are supported by providing the opportunity for them to gain skills they need.
We will bring our schools, industry and business together to ensure that these pathways to the workforce and into the economy are clear and supported.
I believe that planning is essential for the post INPEX construction Territory economy.
We are already seeing the effects of this reality. In its budget yesterday the Government sought to diversify the economy.
I support this approach.
What is required is a sensible plan, created together with the business community and clearly articulated to Territorians.
The Chief Minister has to give up his addiction to thought bubble policies and quick fix deals.
The future economic growth of the Territory depends on proper planning.
I know that there are jobs to be created in the pastoral and rural industries.
There is no doubt that the efforts of successive governments in creating strong overseas live cattle trade markets as well as the growth in demand for meat by the growing middle class of Asia provides a shining opportunity for our beef industries.
Government must continue to cultivate those markets and I support the efforts by the Deputy Chief Minister to do so.
Importantly Government must have the infrastructure in place to ensure that the beef industry can get its product to markets- and that is through better roads and improved port infrastructure.
Roads are vital to all areas of the economy and continued investment in roads will have a strong push from a Labor Government.
However, unlike the CLP, we will not be driving the expansion of the Port by selling it or selling a lease. Our recent study of Ports shows there is an alternative approach.
Beyond the beef industry the rural sector in general provides strong opportunities. I understand the significant work that is being done to develop horticulture in Central Australia. This is particularly the case with new industries such as almonds.
Work is also being done in the west of the Territory linking us to the Ord project.
Labor supports the work being done by the people engaged with the Developing the North program. This combined public sector and industry approach is a good one.
Strengthening the tourism sector, developing the relationship with Asia, supporting the expansion of the mining industry and ensuring that our red tape is not a hindrance to development has been a bipartisan approach for decades. This will not change.
We may disagree from time to time about some of the elements but Labor believes in jobs and development and we clearly demonstrated that in government.
In looking at these larger industries we cannot ignore smaller industries including important micro industry development in indigenous communities.
Labor supports the work being done to develop community based fisheries industry across the Top End.
Territory Labor also has a strong record of protecting and looking after workers through appropriate conditions and safeguards – including a fair and decent workers compensation scheme.
Territorians injured and incapacitated deserve fair and just compensation.
It’s the fair thing to do. It’s the decent thing to do. It’s the Labor thing to do.
The efforts by the CLP to water this down through the changes to the Territory workers compensation scheme passed just weeks ago will be repealed by a Labor Government.
Today’s budget, especially the fiscal position of the Government is not the result of planned economic management by the Country Liberals.
It is about spending the returns achieved by selling off the TIO.
This is the same approach that the Government will take to other Territory assets and it is not supported by the Labor Party.
Selling off the silver ware has never worked as a strategy for proper economic management.
It certainly does not get to the underlying issues that Territorians struggle with each day.
The Government’s fiscal position going forwarded is also predicated on GST figures that I would best describe as vulnerable.
Should Western Australia get its way or the national mood on the GST carve up change then those very minimal surplus figures are unlikely to be achieved.
The 2015 budget indicates our GST position shifted negatively due to population decreases. Population growth is predicted to be slow.
This will damage our fiscal position over time and says to me that the Government needs to have a strategy in place to attract more people to live and work in the Territory as a matter of urgency.
One of the key underlying reasons why we are losing population is because of the cost of living, especially the cost of power.
The budget has failed to address this.
It has failed to reduce crime by 10% every year.
It’s failed to provide the promised infrastructure in bush communities. It lacks the innovation required to address the growing public housing waiting lists.
This all stands in stark contrast to the push by CLP Ministers to travel in high class around the world.
We’ve seen the Minister for Health spend $45 000 and six weeks in the United States while the child protection system crumbles around him.
We’ve had the Minister for Education jet between London, New York and Honolulu, at a time when he has cut the budget to schools.
And we’ve seen the Minister for Housing spend $50 000 living it up at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, while she depletes the Territory’s public housing stock, and breaks her commitment to deliver housing in remote communities.
Nothing could paint a clearer picture of the CLP Government’s priorities than this obscene waste of taxpayers’ money.
Territorians know they deserve better.
Madam Speaker, the Territory has a bright future.
We are a place of incredible opportunity.
But we also face many challenges.
Only a government with the right values and the right priorities can work with Territorians to meet these challenges and opportunities.
Territorians cannot afford an arrogant and untrustworthy CLP Government, focused on themselves and more interested in junkets overseas than investment in jobs, health and education.
Labor can restore trust in Government.
Labor will invest in Territory children.
Labor will invest in jobs, health and education.
We will listen and consult as we develop the policies Territorians want and the Territory needs.
We look forward to continuing this conversation with Territorians as we work together to build a better future for all.
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.
Media contact: Gino Luglietti – 0401 119 794
25 May 2016 - Labor Leader Michael Gunner today outlined his alternative 2016 Territory Budget saying a Labor Government will grow jobs, invest in children and restore integrity to government.
GROWING TERRITORY JOBS
Michael Gunner said that growing Territory jobs is an urgent task for any Government elected in August.
“We have seen a loss of jobs across the Territory with worse to come when the Inpex construction phase is finished.
“To grow jobs Labor will:
Michael Gunner has said that the Labor Government will get the money flowing through the Territory economy by:
“The Territory economy is in a deep hole. We are losing jobs. When we lose jobs, we lose people interstate.
“Labor will create jobs right across the Territory. Labor’s infrastructure investment will be focussed on repairs and maintenance and small works projects.
“This stimulus will be implemented with Labor’s tough Buy Local policy making sure that the jobs stay local.
Michael Gunner said that Labor’s infrastructure stimulus projects will be announced over the coming months but will include:
FIRST HOME BUYERS PACKAGE
Michael Gunner also announced $34 000 for first home buyers across the Territory.
Michael Gunner said the introduction of a first home buyers package was designed to reduce the cost of living for first home buyers, getting them to invest in the Territory and stimulating the Territory housing and building industry.
“Under Labor’s plan, the first $500 000 of any existing home purchased by a first home buyer will be exempt from stamp duty. This will be capped at homes valued at $650 000.
“This will result in first home buyers saving $24 000 in costs.
“Additionally, first home buyers purchasing an existing home will be eligible for a $10 000 first home owners renovation package that can be spent on renovations and the purchase of white goods and household furniture (up to $2000), provided those purchases are made in local stores.
“First home buyers purchasing a new home will retain the current $26 000 grant, and in addition to this, will receive $2 000 for purchase of white goods and furniture, provided those purchases are made in local stores.
“This package will be available for two years and will result in jobs being created right across the small contractors industry,” Michael Gunner said.
CHINA / INDIA TOURISM INJECTION
Michael Gunner said that tourism will be an important part of stimulating more jobs in the Territory.
“We have to take advantage of the low Australian dollar. Right now, Darwin airport is reporting fewer international arrivals. We have to address this.
“Labor will add $5 million over the next two years to add to funds targeting Chinese tourists. We also want to spread that focus to Indian tourists - who are now a large part of our international arrivals.
“We believe that India has been ignored in our push into Asia and it is now important to include this fast growing economy into our sight.”
INVESTING IN CHILDREN
Michael Gunner has repeated his commitment to investing in children and the early childhood years.
“I said a Labor Government will be defined by its commitment to children, and I mean it.
“Labor will extend the Nurse Family Partnership Program with an additional $8 million over 4 years. This will see more Child Health nurses and more home visits from nurses to newly pregnant women. This program has been successful in reducing parental smoking, fewer injuries for children, improved home environments and closer monitoring of child progress and welfare.
“Labor will also re-invest an additional $124 million into Territory schools over four years beginning on January 1, 2017. This will consist of:
RESTORING TRUST AND INTEGRITY
Michael Gunner said that restoring trust and integrity to government is the third goal of a Labor Government.
“No one needs to be told of the scandals that have beset this Government.
“Four years of the CLP’s dodgy deals, jobs for mates and an arrogant disdain for transparency and accountability has seen Territorians’ trust in Government hit rock bottom.
“Labor will introduce a Northern Territory Independent Commission Against Corruption.
“We also understand that restoring trust in Government requires tackling the perception that large donations influence important public policy considerations, that private interest can trump the public interest.
“Over the coming weeks I will announce the most comprehensive reforms to electoral donation laws in the Territory’s history.
“These reforms will give Territorians the confidence that the public interest, and not the size of your wallet, determines public policy in the Northern Territory,” Michael Gunner said.
12 July 2016 - Territory Labor has today released our commitment to motorsport in the Northern Territory.
Motorsport is a big part of the Territory lifestyle. Clubs and facilities operate across the Territory, and in all of our major centres. That is why Labor is making this important announcement.
There are 10,000 licensed motorsport competitors, pit crew, volunteers and officials in the Territory, as well as 150,000 participants and spectators annually. It’s one of the biggest sports and economic drivers here in the Territory.
Labor’s commitment will deliver broader funding for Territory motorsport, as well as specific commitments for Alice Springs, Katherine and Tennant Creek.
A Labor Government will:
The previous Labor Government strongly supported Territory motorsports and delivered upgrades to Hidden Valley worth tens of millions of dollars, including upgrades to the dragstrip worth $4million, as well as our continued support of the Hidden Valley leg of the V8 Supercars.
If elected, my government will continue to support the motorsport industry across the Territory.
A yearly breakdown of Labor’s additional funding, on top of the ongoing funding to Motorsport NT, is below:
MEDIA CONTACT: Cameron Angus 0404 021 192
2 May 2016 - Michael Gunner today celebrated May Day by announcing that a Labor Government will put Territory workers first by strengthening the operations of Territory Work Safe and reversing many elements of the CLP’s draconian changes to the Return to Work Act.
“Labor will ensure that Territory workers are protected and safe. And if anything does happen to them that they are able to rehabilitate and get back into the workforce with the strongest possible support,” Mr Gunner said.
“Labor will reverse the CLP’s draconian changes to the Return to Work Act that has gutted Territory workers by reducing their entitlements and putting them in a worse position than some other states.”
Mr Gunner said that workers had previously been able to receive benefits to retirement age provided they could prove they remained incapacitated for work. Now, after CLP changes, workers only received payments for 5 years and medical expenses for 6 years even if they are up to 15 per cent permanently incapacitated. After that, they’re on their own, including meeting the costs of future medical bills associated with the injury.
“A Labor government will return to the model that was effectively in place since 1987 to ensure our workers are looked after up to the end of their working lives. It’s a model that has been proven sustainable by both governments for almost 30 years.
“These benefits require regular medical assessments and should someone be found to have recovered, whether after one year or 10 for example, then they will be expected to return to work. Labor believes these changes are important to ensure our workers have peace of mind and will also serve to encourage workers from other jurisdictions around the country to make the Territory their home.
“What the CLP are doing is shifting the cost of caring for workers from insurance agencies to the public health and hospital system.
“Anyone at work, regardless of the type of work, should know there is a safety net if the unthinkable happens and serious injury is suffered as part of their regular duties at no fault of their own.
Michael Gunner said that a Labor Government would also ensure active education programs as well as strong enforcement programs from Worksafe.
“Business needs to be properly educated and supported in doing the right thing in their work place,” Mr Gunner said.
“However, workers need to also know that there is proper enforcement of work safety laws. Labor will separate these arms of work safe and ensure that enforcement is part of the Department of Justice.”
Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794