Natasha Fyles said today it was inconceivable that CLP Senator Nigel Scullion has cut funding from a volatile substance and alcohol and drug outreach service, putting young people at further risk, and the NT Government is missing in action.
“The Inhalants, Volatile Substances and Drug and Alcohol Town Community Program delivered by Amity Community Services, will cease from 30 June due to a $480,000 funding cut.
“This program provides an on-the-ground outreach support service to young people already engaged in or at risk of volatile substance misuse.”
“This is a key frontline service working hard to direct disadvantaged young people into treatment services and to get them re-engaged with their families, school or employment.
“This cut will see young people sniffing volatile substances fall through the cracks, risking their ongoing health and potentially their lives,” Ms Fyles said.
The program works with police, youth service providers and retailers to manage underlying volatile substance use and respond to sporadic increases in sniffing, including training retail staff on their rights and responsibilities in the sale of volatile substances.
The service also supports young people and adults with drug and alcohol problems living in Indigenous town communities, and was developed in response to the need to better ensure clients accessed support services.
This funding cut comes despite Nigel Scullion stating organisations funded under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy would be knocked back if they couldn’t demonstrate their programs have tangibly improved the lives of Aboriginal Australians.
The program employs four staff, including two Indigenous officers, now facing loss of employment.
“I call on Chief Minister Adam Giles to seek an urgent review of this decision,” Ms Fyles said.
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211
Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie said today that Federal CLP funding cuts to indigenous organisations will set indigenous employment targets back and harm regional economies.
“Indigenous organisations, businesses and services that work with our communities are still assessing the impact of Senator Nigel Scullion’s IAS cuts," Ms Lawrie said.
Ms Lawrie called on Chief Minister Adam Giles to stand up for Territorians and fight to have cuts to programs reversed because early indications are that jobs are at risk.
“With Adam Giles' new-found awareness of Indigenous Affairs he must come clean and explain what jobs and support across the Territory will be lost under the Scullion knife," Ms Lawrie said.
“We’re hearing that there are cuts to Indigenous ranger and land management programs that have been an outstanding success story in creating employment and caring for country.
Ms Lawrie said that currently there are about 320 people delivering ranger programs across the Territory.
“Ranger groups provide confidence to traditional owners that land and sea management is being attended too and if ranger funding applications have been rejected the consequence would be dire,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Indigenous organisations throughout the Territory are today counting the cost of a CLP Senator wielding cuts to programs and a CLP Government in the Territory that has failed to stand up for them.”
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, said the last day of school is bittersweet for many Territory Schools, with CLP education cuts biting too deep, causing staff cuts.
“Territory school communities should be celebrating the end of year and looking forward to taking a well-earned break, but instead they are losing classroom teachers, ESL and special education support," Ms Lawrie said.
“Every public school in my electorate of Karama is losing staff that are needed to support a quality education for our children. These cuts are hurting primary, middle and senior schools.
Ms Lawrie said the CLP Government's failure to pass on funding of 3 per cent to cover the teachers' EBAs had compounded the school budget woes.
“The CLP Government’s failure to properly fund teachers’ pay increases as per the new EBA is also adding extra strain to the already stretched school budgets,” Ms Lawrie said.
Ms Lawrie said the Education Minister, Peter Chandler, had failed to stand up for Territory students and the sooner he was replaced the better.
“Hopefully Territory students will get an early Christmas present in an announcement of a new Education Minister in the CLP’s upcoming cabinet reshuffle,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Territory students deserve a new Education Minister who will fight for Territory student’s right to a well-resourced education system in the Territory - Not scrooge-like cuts we’ve seen under Peter Chandler.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie today said the return of Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu to the CLP clears the way for Chief Minister Adam Giles to announce the date of the Casuarina by-election.
Ms Lawrie said that the CLP now has the numbers to continue to govern even if disgraced Fong Lim MLA Dave Tollner follows through on his threat to walk away from the "nest of vipers".
"With Dave Tollner still in hiding and huge doubts over his future with the CLP, the Government were delaying the Casuarina by-election but now the opportunity exists for Adam Giles to announce the poll date," Ms Lawrie said.
"The people of Casuarina should be represented in the October sittings of Parliament and there is nothing preventing the CLP Government from calling a by-election date for either October 11 or 18.
"Kon Vatskalis did the right thing by giving Government plenty of notice of his September 18 resignation date now the CLP need to announce the poll date."
Ms Lawrie said the by-election would give residents the chance to have their say on the spiralling cost of living under the CLP and crippling cuts to education and health.
"The CLP has broken its election commitments and torn up its contract with Territorians.
"They continue to be a dysfunctional government out of touch with the issues affecting our everyday lives.
"Families are struggling to make ends meet with crippling power and water bills causing enormous family and small business financial stress.
"I challenge the CLP to spend time in our classrooms and see the unreasonable demands on teachers now that they've increased class sizes and stripped away crucial support resources.
"Will anyone from the Government spend a night in our RDH emergency department which is in crisis due to bed block and has our wonderful doctors and nurses working under intolerable conditions trying to care for Territorians?"
Media contact: Mandy Taylor 0414 634159