Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Natasha Fyles, said 2014 showed a nasty and arrogant Giles Government failing to deliver for Territorians.
“Territorians have had to suffer a terrible year under the worst Government ever,” Ms Fyles said.
“Arrogant Adam Giles and the CLP Government have betrayed the trust of Territorians by selling off TIO without a mandate.
“They’re driving up the cost of living with huge hikes in power and water bills and another round of increases are slated for 1 January, 2015. The average family has already had to find an extra $2000 a year to pay these bills.
“TIO’s new owner Allianz says insurance premiums will increase for many policy holders by 200 percent or more.
“And, before the ink was dry on that dud deal, they’re moving on to their next target, Darwin Port. If the Port is privatised, every business knows the cost of all goods that move in or out of here goes up.
“This year Territorians have been left with no confidence that the CLP Government operates with any transparency or accountability. Serious questions on the allocation of water licences, land deals and Foundation 51 have been dodged and the Inquiry into political donations nobbled before it could even begin.
“Three CLP members walked out of the CLP in disgust at their antics early in the year and two Ministers have been publically disgraced.
“The merry-go-round of CLP reshuffles continues with Territorians watching to see if Dave Tollner will be let out of the naughty corner.
“Education in the Territory has taken a major hit with schools forced to cut teachers, support staff and programs under the new global school budget policy which gives them even less to pay the bills.
“Palmerston residents are no closer to having access to their own hospital and are now told it’s going to be privatised.
“RDH is still suffering bed block, double bunking, pressure on the emergency department and bungled hospital car parking.
“The Territory’s Child Protection system is in crisis. A record high of 900 children are under the care of the Department of Children and Families. A backlog 1,160 case reviews are overdue.
“Vulnerable Territory kids are suffering because the CLP Government refuses to properly resource and support the child protection system in the Territory.
“On Saturday it will be one year since Rio Tinto announced the closure of the Alumina Refinery in Nhulunbuy and one year since Adam Giles and the CLP Government turned their backs on the residents of Nhulunbuy and the region.
“Bush electorates are still waiting to see the big CLP promises of infrastructure and jobs delivered.
“The Chief Minister has failed to get anything for the Territory from Canberra’s infrastructure fund.
“Two years in and they continue to cut the ribbons on Labor-legacy infrastructure projects. Small businesses are suffering due to CLP budget cuts and a lack of new projects in the pipeline.
Ms Fyles asked how much more Territorians can bear from this incompetent CLP Government.
“Self-interest has motivated the CLP Government this year while Territorians struggle.
“It is appalling that the CLP Government put more effort into plans to sell off Territory assets than to resourcing front line services, supporting local businesses, and ensuring Territorians aren’t forced to move interstate for cheaper living and more employment opportunities.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie today joined hundreds of Territorians in the toot to save TIO car rally that circled Parliament House.
Ms Lawrie said while Labor fought the sale efforts of the CLP Government in Parliament, Territorians continue to bombard social media with their disgust and anger over the TIO sale.
“Adam Giles is being described by many as arrogant and Territorians are asking if they can sell the CLP,” Ms Lawrie said.
“The community anger over the CLP betrayal of Territorians is very strong and yet the CLP continue their arrogant crash through approach to sell TIO.
“We’ve been presented with news of the sale yesterday and legislation to give effect to the sale is expected to pass on all stages today instead of the usual month timeframe to consider its implications and consult.
“This is an extraordinarily arrogant Government who show utter contempt for the will of the people – they are failing the most basic test of democracy.”
Ms Lawrie said that the community were furious that many commitments made by Adam Giles over the sale had been broken.
“Our TIO safety net insurer is being sold to a German company – it’s not remaining Territorian as promised,” Ms Lawrie said.
“There are no legal guarantees to secure our ongoing insurance product needs to cover flood, storm surge and cyclone, instead Adam Giles is expecting to Territorians to trust his ‘good will’ discussions behind closed doors.
“Bitter experience elsewhere has shown private market insurance failure and Territorians face the very real prospect of massive insurance premium hikes in vulnerable areas where we need affordable insurance the most.
“The actions of the CLP to ram through sale legislation on urgency today are unconscionable and against the will of Territorians.
“Labor will fight the sale of TIO every step of the way through Parliament but sadly there is yet to be a CLP member to cross the floor to prevent the sale.”
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today invited Territorians to join the fight against the CLP Government selling TIO.
“TIO is the only insurer in the Territory market that provides no-loophole cyclone, flood and storm surge cover,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Adam Giles and the CLP Government are pushing to sell TIO with no mandate from Territorians.
“Adam Giles and the CLP Government voted down a Labor motion in Parliament to stop the asset sales and take their plans to the next election or a referendum so Territorians can vote on the issue.
“The CLP is risking creating an insurance crisis in the Territory like that in Queensland, where some areas can’t even get flood and cyclone cover.
“Territorians are already highlighting massive hikes in private insurance quotes compared to TIO for flood and storm surge, and this will get worse when TIO is sold.”
Ms Lawrie said Territorians against the sale of TIO can sign a petition in the mall in Darwin city every weekday lunch time, or Casuarina square every Saturday or online at http://www.change.org/p/northern-territory-government-don-t-sell-tio.
“This petition, which will be tabled in Parliament, gives Territorians a way to have their say,” Ms Lawrie said.
“CLP members will need to vote in Parliament to support the sale of TIO so we also urge Territorians to pick up the phone or email CLP members of Parliament.”
Ms Lawrie said since the CLP Government only announced their TIO sale plans after the Casuarina by-election, not giving voters a chance to voice their views.
“Territorians want TIO to stay a public asset and without TIO Territorians will be left vulnerable,” Ms Lawrie said.
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today announced a Labor Government, if elected, would institute a No Public Mandate, No Public Asset Sale policy and review any sale of public assets undertaken by the current CLP Government.
“The Government of the day has a responsibility to the people to protect public assets, particularly where monopolies exist in small jurisdictions,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Like all policy development, an asset sale should include genuine public consultation.
“Right now, Territorians are rightly concerned the CLP Government is on a sell-out agenda, rushing through the sale of TIO, PowerWater and the Port without genuine consultation with Territorians.
“Public assets like TIO belong to Territorians, not the Government.
“If a Government has a case to sell a public asset in the best interests of the community, where there has been a cost benefit analysis, they should make that case to the voting public and win their mandate to sell.
“The CLP have failed to consult with the public and they are arrogantly pursuing a behind-closed-doors sell-out of assets that belong to Territorians.
“Territory Labor does not support the sale of TIO or public assets like the Port and PowerWater, and we stand on our record in Government where public assets were kept in public hands.
“If a Labor Government is elected in 2016, it will review any sale of public assets that the CLP undertakes.”
TIO is presently the only insurer in the Territory market that provides all the cover Territorians need to be fully protected against cyclone, flood and storm surge and it provides disaster cover to mitigate against potential profiteering from re-building efforts after major disasters.
The CLP is ignoring a recommendation to the Australian Government to expand TIO across Northern Australia because “it is affordable and consistently available” and would address the insurance crisis that is impeding investment in Northern Australia.
To this end, the Labor Opposition demands the CLP Government reveal whether the terms of their sale of TIO includes a restraint of trade clause which would prevent the Federal Government providing for a TIO government-owned model of insurance being established in the Northern Territory.
The Territory Insurance Office (TIO) in the Northern Territory is a government owned statutory insurance provider that has provided affordable insurance to citizens of the Territory since 1979. It provides a potential model for the creation of an insurance office covering Northern Australia. – (Inquiry into the Development of Northern Australia: Final Report)
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Natasha Fyles, today called on the CLP to halt the sale of TIO.
"The CLP need to come clean on how advanced with the TIO sale they are," Mr Vowles said.
"Rumours are circulating that the CLP Government has already found a buyer for TIO in Insurance Australia Group.
"Adam Giles has pretended for weeks that no final decision has been made but he admitted to Parliament they are at final offers stage.
“The CLP voted in Parliament to endorse a sale of TIO with no mandate from Territorians.
"Adam Giles' backroom deals are not the 'mature conversation' he was spruiking to Territorians."
Ms Fyles said Territorians are staunchly opposed to the sale of TIO.
"Petitions against the sale of TIO at the front of Labor Member's electorate offices have been filling up with signatures," Ms Fyles said.
"Territorians know how important TIO is to the Territory, and how vulnerable many residents will be without the Territory specific coverage TIO offers.
"TIO belongs to Territorians not the CLP Government and they should be given a chance to say what happens with their TIO."
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today said that the CLP Government has known of the Noonamah Ridge proposal since December 2013, failed to consult with the community, and is now rushing the proposal through a special development process.
“The proposed Noonamah Ridge development will be twice the size of Katherine,” Ms Lawrie said.
“The Developer’s proposal states they have engaged in extensive consultation with the CLP Government, and 'the response to the development has been overwhelming positive…'.
“Unbelievably, Adam Giles is claiming no involvement with the development telling ABC radio this morning he is ‘not aware of any proposal that’s come to Government to date’.
“It is inconceivable that the Chief Minister does not know of this significant proposal that has been dealt with at the highest hands of Government for almost 12 months."
Ms Lawrie said the CLP Government had form on ignoring proper planning processes.
“How can a developer choose where and what they want to develop in the Territory without following our planning scheme and established land use objectives?” Ms Lawrie asked.
“This is a new town and its development threatens the rural amenity that the current residents now enjoy with the lot sizes in the proposal being as small as 800sq metres – the same size as house blocks our suburbs.
"The infrastructure and service burdens on Government are significant across transport, health, police, fire and emergency services and education to name a few.
“Labor had, with extensive public consultation planned our next township of Weddell that included affordable housing options and was accepted by the community.
“On winning government, the CLP scrapped Weddell, which from a planning perspective was ready for development, stalling new housing options.
“The CLP are riding roughshod over planning schemes and regional land use plans that have been developed in partnership with the community, replacing them with special CLP developments and spot re-zonings.
“The CLP need to stop breaching the trust of Territorians and return to thorough planning processes rather than dangerous short cuts."
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie has called on the CLP Government to urgently review the contract and taxpayer-funded subsidy to South Australian ferry company SeaLink before it sends Darwin’s tour boat operators broke.
Ms Lawrie today met with a delegation of Territorians who operate six Darwin harbour cruise vessels who say they are in danger of losing their small businesses because SeaLink is targeting their market.
“SeaLink is subsidised to operate the Tiwi Islands and Mandorah ferry services, and it has shocked local tourism operators that they’ve moved into the harbour cruise market at dramatically lower prices than the local businesses,” Ms Lawrie said.
“These small businesses are doing it tough and their pleas to have the CLP review the SeaLink contract have been ignored.
“Is the CLP Government confident that their taxpayer-funded subsidy for the ferry services to Tiwi and Mandorah cannot be used in an anti-competitive way to undercut existing local businesses?”
Ms Lawrie said the CLP Government was ignoring businesses who had invested in our harbour cruise market.
She said harbour cruise operators were concerned that SeaLink was subsided for fuel, staffing and all other business costs enabling it to offer a product at prices that cannot be matched in an open market.
“Our small harbour cruise operators are worried that the subsidy from the Northern Territory Government is helping SeaLink to provide tourism services at a competitive advantage,” Ms Lawrie said.
“The CLP Minister for Transport Peter Styles needs to request an independent review of this matter and make the findings public.”
Opposition Leader, Delia Lawrie, says she is concerned about delays to the release of the suburb of Zuccoli due to the CLP Government’s focus on interstate developers over local businesses.
Ms Lawrie said tender assessment for the development of this new suburb commenced in July and now, in October, local developers appear to be out of the running.
“The industry is concerned the CLP Government is focused on bringing in an interstate developer to deliver Zuccoli Stage 3 and 4, over local developers with local experience and an existing workforce,” Ms Lawrie said.
“The CLP Government is ignoring the expertise of local companies that employ Territorians and invest back in the Territory.
“Every delay to the capital works program is making it harder for established Territory companies to maintain their workforce, risking local jobs.
“The extensive delays to tenders blow out the timelines for construction of new housing at Zuccoli, affecting building companies and homebuyers."
Ms Lawrie said Zuccoli is part of a four-suburb expansion of Palmerston East, planned and funded by the previous Labor Government, including Bellamack, Johnston, Zuccoli and Mitchell.
“Many local companies delivered the civil works for earlier stages of Palmerston East and the CLP Government should be focused on applying the expertise of local companies to the next stage of Zuccoli," Ms Lawrie said.
“This comes on top of the release of Berrimah Farm and the Government’s international developer approach, which will cut local developers out and reduce the capacity for competition in the market, achievable when releasing multiple parcels for development."
Media Contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Ken Vowles, today branded the CLP Government as the most dysfunctional administration anywhere in Australia.
“Two years into Government the scorecard tells a story of rank incompetence, arrogance and chaos," Mr Vowles said.
"The CLP has torn up every election commitment and overseen rising cost of living, rising unemployment, frontline jobs slashed across the public service, 340 businesses hit the wall and no major land releases while housing costs rise.
"Without a mandate the CLP have split up PowerWater, increased tariffs and are preparing our public assets of the Port, TIO and power retail and generation for sale."
He said since the last election in 2012, the Territory has had:
Two Chief Ministers,
Four Deputy Chiefs (now vacant),
Four Education Ministers,
Three Business Ministers,
Three Employment Ministers,
Three Local Government Ministers, and
Two Health Ministers
“Incredibly, the next reshuffle will be the 7th reshuffle in two years and Territorians are rightly asking when will this Government get its act together?
“In the past week alone the CLP has lost two votes on the floor of Parliament just by sheer ineptitude and on Friday lost their Treasurer and Deputy Chief Minister after his outrageous gay slur.
“If you can’t run your own party, you can’t run the Territory,” Mr Vowles said.
“In two years their seats in Parliament have crashed from 16 to 13 because of their broken promises to the bush and extreme internal divisions."
He said the Giles Government was the worst in Territory history.
"The only good news for Territorians is that the strength of the economy due to Labor's effort in oil and gas and onshore resources will underpin economic growth," Mr Vowles said.
Media Contact: Michael Gleeson 0400 096 924