8 December 2015 - The NTCOSS report that Territorians are paying an additional $1500 for insurance since 2009 is cause for concern given the average Territory Family is also paying around an extra $2000 since the CLP increased power by 30% and Water by 40%.
“The CLP broke their promise to reduce the cost of living when they increased Power and Water costs and sold TIO, and it’s for these reasons people are leaving the Territory in record levels,” said Nicole Manison.
“In 2014 the Northern Territory lost 3500 more people to interstate migration than we gained which means we lost 3500 taxpayers which skills who were contributing to the future of our Territory.
“In actual fact, the current losses are the worst experienced in two decades.
“Record levels of people leaving the Territory places immense pressure on local business because there are 3500 fewer people who won’t be spending their hard earned cash here at local businesses and shops.
“Local business is the backbone of our Territory economy, and when local business suffers, our economy suffers.
“The fact that 3500 people fewer people have taken their future elsewhere should be a wakeup call for the CLP Government.
“The CLP’s Adam Giles has dismissed the record levels of people leaving the Territory by saying we have always lost population, but that is simply not the case and completely contrary to NT Treasury documents.
“Treasury reports show net interstate migration in the period from 2007 to 2010 was positive - the Territory gained more people from interstate than it lost.
“Territory Labor will introduce a package which induces initiatives to help ease the pain Territorians have suffered through for three and a half years of this CLP Government.”
Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
11 August 2015 - Natasha Fyles, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure today acknowledged comments from experts confirming that the CLP’s privatisation of the Darwin Port has is likely to impact on the hip pockets of Territorians.
Comments today from Victoria University’s Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics Maritime expert, Peter van Duyn, with regard to the privatisation of the Darwin Port, said:
“That will make it extra hard for the sellers and bidders to determine a fair price for these attractive infrastructure assets, under what conditions a competing port may be establish and whether potential compensation should be paid to the incumbents. Any compensation payment would likely fall to the taxpayer.” – Oil and Gas Australia.
“This confirms what we already knew, that Territorians will be faced with higher cost of living as a result of the CLP and their obsession with privatizing our public assets,” said Ms Fyles.
“Mr Peter van Duyn, a maritime logistics expert with the Victoria University’s Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics, also confirmed what we’ve known all along – that the “lease” of our Darwin Port, and increases to the berth and other rates, are an apparent move to raise the sale price and sell the Port off in the future.
“Privatising Darwin Port will hike up transport costs for everyday goods, hurting the hip pocket.
“Businesses will be faced with higher transport costs, hurting their businesses and they’ll be forced to pass on costs to customers.
“Adam Giles and the arrogant CLP Government rammed through the sale of the Port without any public consultation or a mandate, just like the TIO sale.
“The CLP government doesn’t listen to the community or experts and Territorians will be the ones who literally pay the price for the CLP’s arrogance.”
Media Contact Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
Shadow Minister for Lands Michael Gunner has congratulated Chief Minister Adam Giles for finally moving on the long-delayed new Alice Springs suburb of Kilgariff.
“Labor would have delivered Kilgariff to the market with houses being built by 2013,” Mr Gunner said.
“It is now 2015 - under the CLP Government the Kilgariff project is a third of the original size and two years behind schedule.
“Back in 2012, then Infrastructure Minister Adam Giles said works at Kilgariff would be fast tracked and completed in 2013.
“The CLP missed their target of 100 blocks being up for sale by July 2013.
“Now there are only around 30 blocks for sale.
“Nearly three years of the CLP has seen Alice Springs go backwards at an alarming rate.
“The Alice economy and local residents are hurting with increasing power and water charges, long term local retailers shutting their doors and the CLP Government offering very little in the way of economic development planning for the future."
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211
Shadow Minister for Essential Services, Nicole Manison, today called on the CLP to explain how much the structural separation of PowerWater into three corporations is costing Territorians.
“Massive CLP hikes to power, water and sewerage tariffs have Territorians are struggling to pay their bills,” Ms Manison said.
“Territorians have suffered a third year of tariff hikes that hit household and businesses with a 30 percent power price hike, 40 percent water cost hike and 25 percent increase to sewerage charges.
“Before the latest 5 percent price hike in January this year, the CLP’s power and water tariff increases had ripped around an extra $151 million from the pockets of Territorians.
“Adam Giles and the CLP Government split PowerWater Corporation into three separate entities last year. A practice undertaken to prepare electricity utilities for privatisation.
“The split was carried out without any cost benefit analysis to support the separation.
“How much did the structural separation of PowerWater Corporation cost Territorians taxpayers?
“Industry insiders are telling us the structural separation costs are already at $10 million and rising. The CLP Government could say what has been spent to date, why won’t they?”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Territorians being hit with power bills this quarter are beginning to feel the full effect of the CLP’s power price hikes, Shadow Minister for Essential Services Nicole Manison said today.
Ms Manison said the CLP’s staggered price hikes are now fully implemented with the third year of tariff hikes amounting to a 30% increase to power, 40% increase to water and 25% increase to sewerage charges.
“Territorians are starting to receive their bills with another 5% price hike – and are feeling the pain of the successive revenue grab from the CLP Government,” Ms Manison said.
“The power, water and sewerage price hikes are hurting Territory families and Territory businesses.
“Before the latest 5% increase hit, the CLP’s increases had ripped an extra $151 million from the pockets of Territorians, with power tariff revenue directly raising $115M.
“This is $151 million taken from family budgets and does not account for the flow-on effects to goods and services where businesses passed on the tariff increases.
“Territory families are struggling under these massive power, water and sewerage hikes and businesses are doing it tough.
“Every day we hear from Territorians struggling to pay their bills and considering packing up and leaving the Territory.”
Ms Manison said the CLP was elected on a promise to reduce the cost of living – yet they did exactly the opposite, putting profits before people.
“Territorians are rightly concerned that the CLP has increased tariffs to fatten PowerWater profits to ready it for sale, and privatisation will lead to more price hikes, job cuts and reduced reliability.”
As the full second year of the dysfunctional CLP Government comes to an end the Opposition is counting the cost for Territorians.
The CLP have spent another year breaking their promise to reduce the cost of living, and from 1 January, Territorians will feel the pain in their hip pocket.
“Under the CLP hikes to power, water and sewerage charges the average family has had to pay an extra $2000 per year.
“From tomorrow, Territory households will have to brace for another 5% jump in power, water and sewerage costs.
“The power and water hikes are also hurting small business, particularly those struggling retail businesses unable to pass on the costs.
“In the bush it is even worse, where already families pay more for food than most other Australians, and these costs will keep rising with increasing power prices and operating costs for bush stores.
“The CLP had a choice between making Power and Water financially sustainable or making it profitable – and they have chosen profits over people,” Ms Fyles said.
Under the CLP price hikes, power charges increased by 30%, water increased by 40% and sewerage is up by 25%.
“The CLP’s hikes to power, water and sewerage charges are making the cost of living even harder for all Territory households.
“Essential services are just that and Territorians are being forced to pay more so the CLP Government can increase PowerWater profits to ready it for sale, with the CLP this year not ruling out a sale of this public asset.
“Just like they sold TIO, the CLP will sell our PowerWater without any concern about the impact on Territorians once this is sold, including higher charges and more blackouts.
“Under the CLP, the cost to buy a home has increased by 4.5% over the last 12 months, and first home buyers will be squeezed out of the market even further with the CLP cuts to first home buyer grants,” Ms Fyles said.
“Under the CLP the dream of owning a home is being put even further out of reach.”
“As well as paying more, Territorians are experiencing disruptions and cuts to essential government services like education and health.”
“Our schools have borne significant cuts to teaching and support staff positions. Under Global School Budgets set to start in January, many schools are facing more teacher cuts and less subject choices for students, cutting our education system to the bone.”
“There has been no real progress in improving remote Indigenous education and now another Minister for Education has been appointed to clean up the mess.”
“Programs supporting vulnerable families and children at risk are crumbling and resulting in an alarming and rapid increase in Territory children taken into care.”
“Child protection is going backwards with over 1000 reports unresolved while the CLP are more focused on cost-cutting rather than reducing the number of kids at risk of neglect or harm,” Ms Fyles said.
“Our health system continues to struggle with overloaded hospitals, continuing delays in access to treatment at our hospital emergency departments due to a lack of hospital beds and cuts to remote health services.
“The only improvements to our health system, after 2 years of a CLP government, have been projects approved and funded by Labor governments here and in Canberra.
“The CLP continue to talk up Northern Development, and allocate free water rights to CLP mates despite concerns from other stakeholders, but has made little progress in real regional economic development
“Territorians living in the bush are still waiting for improvements to roads and other infrastructure promised in the 2012 election. Again, they have only seen projects completed that were approved and funded by previous Labor governments.” Ms Fyles said.
“And the CLP continue to sit on the report of the Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking); the key current environmental issue for many Territorians.
“The CLP promised to be an open and accountable government, but that has been the biggest joke of 2014,” Ms Fyles said.
Media contact: Sonia Peters 0437 762 881
**Increase to housing costs: Territory Economic Review December 2014 www.treasury.nt.gov.au
Shadow Treasurer, Gerry McCarthy, said that the NT Cost of Living Report by Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) confirms that Territorians are still suffering the high cost of living under the CLP.
“Territorians are suffering under the high cost of living in the Territory,” Mr McCarthy said.
“Territorians are paying more than the rest of the country for food, health care, fuel and rent.
Australia average weekly expenditure on food is $221.50; in Darwin $232.80 for the NT outside Darwin $256.90.
Mr McCarthy said that the report claims that households who depend on remote stores for their shopping are spending more than one third of their income on food and are paying nearly 50 percent more on food than Darwin households.
“Territorians in remote areas are paying a lot more for food than those in urban centres like Darwin,” Mr McCarthy said.
“Food security becomes a real issue in remote areas when other cost of living pressures, such as high power and water costs, compound.
“For example a family in a remote area, who has spent the $256.90 a week on food as detailed in the NTCOSS report, may not be able to afford a power card to keep the fridge working.
“The CLP Government promised to lower the cost of living at the 2012 election.
“Serious consideration needs to be given to the recommendation in the NTCOSS report that would provide food security for Territorians in the bush.”
Media Contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today said data shown at the Fuel Price Summit shows prices spiked up and stayed significantly higher post August 2012.
Ms Lawrie said the Government's carefully stage-managed summit did not allow questions or comments from attendees which prompted audience frustration.
"Territorians walked away with fewer answers than questions despite data being provided by industry participants," Ms Lawrie said.
"Despite a doubling of inflation coinciding with price spikes when PowerWater charges were hiked up by the CLP, this impact didn't get an airing.
"The AANT fuel price chart shows a hike post August 2012 - showing the CLP inflation pain felt at all businesses and household.
"At the end of this talkfest Labor continues to call for action to help drive prices down."
Ms Lawrie has repeated Labor's calls for:
* a SmartApp allowing consumers to support best price at bowser - active competition,
* fight the Liberal fuel excise that will increase petrol prices, and
* facilitate greater competition in the market by releasing prime service/commercial sites that were due to go to an Expression of Interest two months ago.
"Time to stop the talkfest and get on with action that is practical and puts downward pressure on fuel prices," Ms Lawrie said.
"Labor stands ready to pursue this with further inquiries but let's get on with some action with the three simple steps we propose.
"Unsurprisingly the CLP stage-managed talkfest ignored their own goal of the suggested use of the Price Exploitation Prevention Act."
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Ken Vowles, said Territorians were paying too much at the petrol bowser while Adam Giles dithers.
Mr Vowles said it's been nine days since the CLP flagged the potential use of Price Exploitation Prevention Act and now it is clear Territorians had been subject to a cruel stunt.
"Chief Minister Adam Giles has walked away from intervening in fuel prices using the price exploitation law but you have to wonder why it took more than a week of CLP chaos.
“Adam Giles has announced a Fuel Price Summit and we hope it's not just another talk fest,” Mr Vowles said.
“The cost of living in the Territory is too high and is hurting families and local businesses.
“The CLP Government made a promise to reduce the cost of living but instead we've seen inflation double, power and water price hikes, housing costs rising and fuel prices a killer.
“Territorians are fed up and are calling for less pain at the bowser. It's time for the CLP to fight the Liberal Canberra fuel excise increase that will add to price at bowser."
Mr Vowles said Labor hopes the CLP heeds the call of Territorians to reduce our crippling cost of living.
“The CLP Government has added to the burden of families and businesses with their PowerWater price hikes and another 5% increase will hit Territorians in January.”
Shadow Minister for Health, Nicole Manison, is calling on the CLP to shut down the bungled parking payment system at Royal Darwin Hospital.
Ms Manison said the CLP Government had admitted the car park payment system at Royal Darwin Hospital was a mistake and should do the right thing and shut it down.
"Every day Territorians are paying for this 'mistake' and facing expensive fines that are difficult to avoid," Ms Manison said.
"Patients and visitors are paying for the CLP car park bungle and this system needs to be immediately shut down and people reimbursed for their fines.
"How many millions of dollars have been ripped out of the pockets of Territorians trying to access the only hospital in Greater Darwin?
"How is it fair or reasonable that this costly bungle is causing daily financial stress and chaos while the CLP admit it is a mistake and then fail to shut it down?"
Labor candidate for Casuarina Lauren Moss said that the CLP Government had failed to fix the problem and the car park chaos had spilled over into the surrounding suburb.
"Residents of Tiwi are deeply concerned with the traffic hazard caused along Rocklands Drive and are calling for this mess to end," Ms Moss said.
"Our community is upset that this car park chaos drags on while CLP promises of a fix amount to a Band-Aid that shows they're not listening to residents and hospital patrons."
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667