Shadow Attorney General Natasha Fyles today welcomed the Federal Government’s backflip on community legal service funding cuts but called on the CLP Government to do more to reverse other Federal funding cuts affecting Territory services.
“Public and legal sector pressure has forced the Federal Government to reverse legal funding cuts that would have risked Australian’s losing access to legal representation, including victims of domestic violence.
“The Federal Government recognised their mistake here and while the CLP joined the call to reverse legal aid funding, the CLP need to do more to force the reversal of other federal cuts that will see important services close across the Territory.
“The Federal funding cuts to the Environmental Defenders Office, which provides specialised community legal services to Territorians on environmental and planning laws, needs to be reversed.
“Despite the Australian Productivity Commission recognising the value of this service, the CLP has rolled over to federal funding cuts that will disadvantage Territorians, and also failed to fund the EDO despite other state governments doing so.
“The CLP also need to come clean on what it is doing to lobby the Federal government to reverse funding cuts to the Territory under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
“Community pressure has seen CLP Senator Nigel Scullion finally release a list of organisations that received IAS funding, and surprisingly it reveals the NT Government is a beneficiary.
“Adam Giles hid the fact the NT Government even applied for funding, let alone what he money is for, and it begs the question, has the NT Government benefitted at the expense of Indigenous and community organisations and Indigenous jobs?”
“Organisations like the GREATS Youth Service at Maningrida, which delivers vital services, is facing closing its youth centre and ceasing programs because it has been hit with an 80 per cent cut to its Budget under the IAS cuts.
“GREATS is a successful community-driven service that has done significant work to reduce youth suicide. To lose this service would be a tragedy and a Government agency cannot replace a service with community connections.
“Adam Giles has broken every promise he’s made to the bush and the CLP Government has proven incapable of working with Indigenous Territorians to Close the Gap.
“Funding the CLP Government instead of Indigenous organisations makes a mockery of self-determination.”
Territorians are feeling the pain of a divided, chaotic CLP as urban crime spikes and regional and remote communities face jobs and services cuts, Shadow Minister for Government Accountability Natasha Fyles said today.
“Adam Giles is out of touch with the crime wave hurting Territorians as he continues to ridiculously maintain crime is reducing," Ms Fyles said.
“While the CLP Chief Minister exists on a bubble of denial his colleagues are breaking ranks.
“The Member for Greatorex, Matt Conlan, has seen the writing on the wall and announced he will retire at the next election.
“The Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley yesterday predicted Adam Giles will not lead the CLP at the election."
Ms Lambley has kept open the prospect of standing as an Independent at the next election.
“The Tiwi Islanders are confirming Adam Giles is looking for someone to run for the CLP instead of his own Member for Arafura Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu," Ms Fyles said.
"The CLP continues to brawl with Kezia Purick and John Elferink in a public spat over the Bees Creek backflip.
“With all this chaos, the CLP Govenment is failing to protect basic services from Canberra cuts and denies an urban crime wave."
Ms Fyles said the CLP failures pile up while they continue infighting.
Shadow Attorney General Natasha Fyles is calling on the CLP to tackle the rivers of grog fuelling anti-social behaviour and crime.
Ms Fyles said that the CLP reliance on police Temporary Beat Locations (TBLs) had stretched Police resources and left Darwin and Palmerston residents suffering increased anti-social behaviour and crime.
“Many people in my Nightcliff community are experiencing or witnessing unacceptable incidents of anti-social behaviour, including violence.
“The problem across Darwin is the worst it has been with incidents of alcohol fuelled violence taking place constantly, including in broad daylight.
“Local businesses are struggling with the impact of public drunkenness affecting customers and shopkeepers themselves being placed in threatening situations.
“Police are trying to do their best with limited resources, but the CLP government has turned its back on the community, closing the Nightcliff Police Station and the Casuarina Police Beat.
“The CLP scrapped the Banned Drinkers Register; turning 2500 people back onto grog and everyday Territorians are feeling the impact.
“The latest crime statistics issued in February showed assaults in Darwin are up 8.4% while motor vehicle theft was up 22.8% in Darwin and a staggering 44.9% in Palmerston.
“Our community is sick and tired of not being able enjoy our great Territory lifestyle. Over the past few weeks I have had numerous complaints.
“Adam Giles needs to acknowledge the issue, properly resource the police and put policies in place so the community can feel safe once again.”
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211
Opposition Education Minister Natasha Fyles today called on the CLP Government to stop ignoring the critical needs of young Territory adults with disabilities.
Ms Fyles said young people with disabilities and their families have been trying to meet with Health Minister Robyn Lambley and Education Minister Peter Chandler about a proposal that will support them when they complete their school years.
“Families of young adults who attend either Henbury School or Palmerston Senior College need a facility where they can continue to socialise and learn once their formal education is complete.
“They have developed a proposal for a hub facility that will offer post school support and programs, be a space where the young adults can meet with friends, take part in activities and give carers respite.
“This community-driven proposal is designed to meet the needs of a group of young people in our community who, at the moment, get very little support from the NT Government.
“At the very least they should be able to get a meeting with the relevant Ministers to put their case, not be fobbed off by a Government that doesn’t seem to care.”
Ms Fyles was joined today by Labor candidate for Casuarina Lauren Moss, who is supporting the young adults and their families in their efforts to get NT Government support for the plan.
“This facility would be a place where young adults with disabilities can keep in contact with the friends they made through school and be in a stimulating environment.
“At the moment many youths with disabilities only have the option of home-based carers when they finish their schooling, so they become isolated from their peer network and have difficulty accessing appropriate activities.
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to support this model for a place that young adults with disabilities can call their own and I urge the NT Government to give them the attention they deserve.”
Media contact: Mandy Taylor 0414 634159
Shadow Minister for Education, Natasha Fyles said that the CLP Government’s education cuts are putting at risk efforts to improve the Territory’s NAPLAN results.
“It is clear that education outcomes are not improved by cutting funding for schools,” Ms Fyles said.
“The NAPLAN results show the percentage of students at or above national minimum standard is lower than in 2013 in 13 of 20 assessed areas including all test categories for Year 3 students, four out of five categories for Year 5 students and three out of five categories for Year 9 students.
“These latest NAPLAN results show that the CLP’s cuts are taking our students backwards.
“In the 13/14 Budget the CLP government budgeted $685.172m for public schools and this has dropped to $670.362m in the 14/15 Budget – a cut of $15m.
“In the last year the CLP Government has cut 125 teaching positions from Territory schools.
“Compounding the teacher losses, 60 support positions have also been cut from schools, meaning that more pressure is put on teachers and there is less individual attention on students as a result.
“Fewer teachers and fewer support staff is not the way to boost education outcomes in the Territory.”