Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Natasha Fyles, today said the Opposition welcomes Adam Giles’ backflip on rushing ahead to privatise Darwin Ports.
“The Territory Opposition has consistently called on the Government to halt their asset sales program and consult with Territorians,” Ms Fyles said.
“Territorians know they cannot trust Adam Giles to operate in their best interests, given his track record of rushing to privatise TIO without any form of public consultation.
“We are yet to see the terms of reference and details of the committee, but on first glance we wonder if five weeks is long enough for proper consultation.
“This timing suggests the Chief Minister is engaging in a cynical exercise with the report due on the eve of the March sittings, ready in time to push through the sale legislation.
“A good place to start is for the government to immediately release its business case and cost/benefit analysis, which they should have done before they announced this late last year.
“While it is great to see Adam Giles is trying to change his approach but Territorians are not naïve and know that the cautionary tale of the fate of the now disposed QLD LNP Leader, Campbell Newman, would be influencing Giles’ about face.”
Ms Fyles said the Privatisation of Darwin Port will have a detrimental effect on the cost of living for Territorians as Territorians will foot the bill of freight increases of commercial rates.
Ms Fyles said the Darwin hearing of the Senate Inquiry into the Privatisation of state and territory assets and new infrastructure will be held on Monday.
“Territorians do not want their public assets privatised,” Ms Fyles said.
“The Senate Inquiry will hear evidence about the CLP’s actions to sell TIO without a public mandate under the guise of attracting federal government incentive payments and concerns about the potential sale of other Territory assets.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Natasha Fyles, today condemned the CLP for moving to introduce legislation that will allow for the sale of our Port the day after it sold TIO amid community outrage.
“Arrogant Adam Giles is showing utter contempt for Territorians who are fighting his public assets sales agenda – first he sells our TIO and now he moves to sell our Port,” Ms Fyles said.
“The sale of TIO will hurt many Territorians living in flood, storm surge and cyclone zones now left to the whim of a private insurer Allianz instead of the safety net of our public insurer.
“The sale was a con. Adam Giles promised TIO would stay Territorian – it’s now German. Adam Giles promised TIO guarantees – yet no legal guarantees on insurance premium prices or coverage exist. Adam Giles promised it would reap a 15 per cent recycling payment from the Commonwealth yet that doesn’t exist. Adam Giles failed to listen to Territorians who overwhelmingly wanted to save our TIO and crashed through with the sale.”
Ms Fyles said that serious questions on the sale still remain.
“We suspect it was no coincidence that on the same day Adam Giles is forcing through the sale of TIO he distributes a Ministerial Statement outlining cuts to the Workers Compensation Scheme which would see injured workers’ benefits reduced that make the insurer more profitable,” Ms Fyles said.
“Adam Giles refused to answer my question today: Did Allianz know about the proposed Workers Compensation changes prior to the TIO sale?”
Ms Fyles said that the CLP are showing utter contempt to Territorians by now pushing ahead with plans to sell our Port.
“Labor worked hard to make the port profitable. The oil and gas boom is just now delivering results and is beginning to deliver a great income stream for our kids’ future, if we can keep it in public ownership,” Ms Fyles said.
“Our Port is worth much, much more to us over the long-term rather than a one-off sale.
“Selling the Port – whether it’s a sale or a sneaky 99 year lease which is a sale by another name – will bring commercial rates for freight that will drive up the cost of living for consumers and businesses.
“What’s next? Do Territorians have to nail down everything we own to stop him selling off our Territory?
“Territorians will have to keep up the fight to keep our valuable public assets ours.”
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Ken Vowles, says Casuarina residents can send the CLP a message that our major assets are not for sale.
Mr Vowles said revelations by Treasurer, Dave Tollner, on ABC Drive yesterday that "we're looking across the board at all of our assets" and that "we haven't ruled out privatisations" would raise alarm bells with Casuarina residents who are already suffering under an arrogant and out of touch CLP Government.
“Adam Giles and Dave Tollner must tell all Territorians what their plans are to sell TIO, our retail and generation utilities and the Darwin Port Corporation,” Mr Vowles said.
“It’s simply not good enough to say everything is on the table but give no further detail – these are valuable public assets that belong to Territorians, not the CLP.
“Territorians are rightly concerned that the arrogance and secrecy around the CLPs plans means a fire-sale is on the cards - which means we all end up paying more for services such as freight, power and insurance.
“This Government has form when it comes to gifting CLP mates plumb jobs and valuable public assets at a massive cost to ordinary hardworking Territorians.
“Dave Tollner then poured fuel on the CLP’s dysfunction by refusing to rule out a tilt at the Chief Minister job after the Casuarina by-election.
“Casuarina residents will soon have a chance to send the CLP a strong message that this arrogant and out of touch government needs to stop hurting Territorians and address their concerns instead of spending all their time feathering the nest of their CLP mates."
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today said that rumours were rife that the CLP Government is planning to sell TIO without any consultation with Territorians.
“Industry sources say the CLP Government is pushing ahead with their plans to sell the Territory Insurance Office, and in a cynical move plan to tell Territorians after the sale,” Ms Lawrie said.
Ms Lawrie said Territorians had made it clear through the largest petition in Territory Parliament history that they want TIO to remain a public asset.
“Territorians fought to save their TIO and the CLP Government has no mandate to sell,” Ms Lawrie said.
“TIO provides Territorians with insurance coverage specific to the unique conditions of Territory life including crucial cyclone and flood coverage.”
Ms Lawrie said the CLP Government does not have a mandate to sell TIO and has called on the Chief Minister Adam Giles to categorically rule out the sale or take their asset sale plan to the Casuarina by-election to give Territorians a say.
“Adam Giles and the CLP Government need to come clean with Territorians on their plans for TIO,” Ms Lawrie said.
“If the rumours are untrue then the CLP Government needs to absolutely rule out sale.”
“The upcoming Casuarina by-election will give the CLP Government the chance to gauge just how little support they will have from Territorians to sell TIO.
“Be honest with Territorians and give them a say in what happens to their public assets.”