Name of the blog | Ken Vowles


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Ignorant Comments by CLP Transport Minister
Ignorant Comments by CLP Transport Minister

9 March 2016 - Shadow Minister for Transport Indigenous Policy, Ken Vowles, today said comments from CLP Transport Minister, Peter Chandler about why he won’t allow Uber to operate in the Northern Territory highlights the level of ignorance within the CLP government.


“The Minister for Transport, Peter Chandler today justified his own inaction on Uber with the utter rubbish that Aboriginal people might not have mobile phones or credit cards”, Mr Vowles said.


“Will the very nature of Uber coming to town provide a level of discrimination, given that 30 per cent of our population is indigenous, many of whom probably wouldn’t have credit cards or access to a smartphone?”

- Peter Chandler, NT News, 9 March 2016


“This comment is as ignorant and as offensive as those by former Treasurer Joe Hockey about poor people not having cars”, Mr Vowles said.


“The poorest people either don't have cars or actually don't drive very far in many cases.”

- Joe Hockey, 13 August 2014


“The CLP Transport Minister needs to stop blaming a sector of the community for his own inaction on Uber. The CLP need to get on with it and put regulations in place to protect our Taxi industry and prepare for the inevitability of Uber coming to the Territory.”



Media contact: Gino Luglietti – 0401 119 794


Water allocations to be open, transparent and sustainable under a Labor Government
Water allocations to be open, transparent and sustainable under a Labor Government

3 March 2016 - Shadow Minister for the Environment, Gerry McCarthy, and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Policy, Ken Vowles, today pledged to return integrity, sustainability and consultation to water policy in the Northern Territory. 


Mr McCarthy said a Territory Labor Government would reject the CLP’s arrogant, dishonest and unsustainable approach to allocating water.


“Territorians are appalled by the way the CLP and former Minister Westra Van Holthe have ignored the science, refused to consult and failed to follow proper processes when allocating water,” Mr McCarthy said.


“Information recently obtained by Territory Labor shows that many aquifers are either over allocated or at the limits of their sustainable yield.


“Territory Labor’s strong track record of protecting the Daly, listening to the community and being guided by science will once again inform our approach to water policy.”


A Territory Labor Government will:

  • Ensure that mining and petroleum operations are subject to the water act and must apply for water licenses;
  • Install a "water for purpose" principle within the allocation and licensing provisions to stop over claiming of water for profit only;
  • Reinstate Strategic Indigenous Reserves and ensure specific structures are in place to guarantee Indigenous Territorians a real say in water allocation that affects their interests;
  • Conduct an independent review, at arm’s length from government, of all water licenses granted since August 2012 to see that proper process was followed;
  • Conduct an independent scientific review of all water modelling for allocation plans; and
  • Return to the consultative approach to water planning – water advisory committees, open water planning process, listening to stakeholders.


“Only a Labor Government can be trusted to allocate water in a way which secures the long-term health of our environment and the many industries that rely on it,” Mr Vowles said.


“And only a Labor Government can be trusted to do so in a way they treats all stakeholder fairly.”


Click here for Policy document – Sustainable Water Use


Media contact: Gino Luglietti – 0401 119 794


Strengthening knowledge of Parliaments’ role in Extractive Industries
Strengthening knowledge of Parliaments’ role in Extractive Industries

3 December 2015 - In line with Territory Labor’s commitment to transparency and honesty, Shadow Minister for Mines and Energy, Ken Vowles, today released information and costings around his upcoming Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) trip to the United Kingdom.


Mr Vowles said he would be attending the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s & World Banks Parliament and Extractive Industry Revenues Workshop as the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly representative to gain further insight into the role of parliaments in extractive industries.


“Extractive industries are a big part of the Territory’s economy and Territory Labor will do all we can to make sure those industries are appropriately supported. At the same time, we will make sure we have strong regulatory frameworks to protect the Territory’s unique and pristine environments.


“Proposals to be discussed at the Workshop include how parliaments can strengthen their oversights of extractive industries, to ensure they are developed in a transparent and accountable way which benefits our Territory society,” Mr Vowles said.


“In line with Territory Labor’s policy, I have met with key Territory stakeholders to help prepare ahead of my engagement. Engaging with local stakeholders is paramount to ensuring we have as much local knowledge as possible as part of any fact finding or trade missions.”


Under CPA guidelines, travel and accommodation costs are reimbursed, equivalent to the cheapest economy class return airfare. The CPA also meets the cost of travelling allowance, accommodation and meals for the workshop, which is being held December 7 to 11 in London. There is expected to be no cost to the taxpayer for this trip.


“The Territory Labor team has committed to providing itineraries, costs and an explanation as to how overseas travel will benefit the Northern Territory," Mr Vowles said.


“On my return, I will present a report to Parliament about the visit and how the information learnt can be applied to benefit the Territory.”


Travel and accommodation paid for by the CPA include economy airfare total cost $3479 and meeting accommodation and meal costs at the venue of the Workshop.



Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794 


Shadow Minister for Indigenous Policy, Ken Vowles, said the Giles Government had failed Indigenous Territorians for two and a half years with a litany of broken promises in the bush.

Mr Vowles said the latest Closing the Gap report tabled in Federal Parliament yesterday was an indictment on the CLP and Liberal Governments who had taken the axe to funding across crucial programs.

“Adam Giles has failed to fight against $500m in Federal funding cuts to Indigenous programs,” Mr Vowles said.

“Despite over 35 percent of the Territory's population being Indigenous, and over 70 percent of that population is living in our regional and remote townships and Homelands across the Territory, Adam Giles has only just reinstated the Indigenous Affairs portfolio that he scrapped it in 2012.

“Closing the Gap initiatives are critical for all Territorians and the future well-being and prosperity of the Territory.

“The Giles Government has failed to build on the momentum gained under the former Territory and Federal Labor Governments.”

Mr Vowles said that when the Closing the Gap report was tabled in Federal Parliament yesterday it was described by the Prime Minister as “profoundly disappointing” with progress stalling in nearly all indicators.

“Adam Giles did not fight when the Federal Liberal Government ripped more than $11 million in funding from primary health care in the Territory; including funding for important programs like ‘Tackling Indigenous Smoking’ and activities linked to alcohol and other drugs,” Mr Vowles said.

“Adam Giles also said in May last year the Federal Government should get out of health, housing and education but has failed to show his government can agree on the right priorities to deliver in any of these areas fundamental to Closing the Gap.

“He continues to fail in delivering any new and substantial Commonwealth funds for health, education and regional economic infrastructure in the bush.”  

Mr Vowles said Adam Giles had sacked the Remote Service Delivery Co-ordinator General position and failed to renew the Remote Service Delivery National Partnership Agreement that expired in June last year.

“Instead of working with key Indigenous organisations, Adam Giles is pursuing an agenda to create chaos across remote Northern Territory by removing existing rights of Land Councils,” Mr Vowles said.

“NLC CEO Joe Morrison yesterday launched a stinging attack on the CLP, saying it was in the ‘DNA of the CLP to attack the Land Rights Act’.

“Instead of working in partnership, Adam Giles is creating upheaval with his divisive approach. This needs to stop.”



Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667


Shadow Minister for Transport, Ken Vowles, today called on the CLP Government to fast-track the implementation of all of the outstanding safety recommendations from the Review of Safety and Security on the Darwinbus Network Interchanges that were announced last September.

“The CLP have dragged their heels on the issue of public transport safety,” Mr Vowles said.

“It has been a year since a serious incident on a female driver triggered a safety audit and since bus drivers are facing increased attacks.

“The CLP Government has not prioritised implementing the recommending safety improvements.”

Mr Vowles said many of the serious offences against drivers and passengers can be linked to alcohol, with public drunkenness and alcohol related violence being out of control in Darwin and Palmerston.

“The latest crime statistics show that under the CLP assaults in Darwin are at their highest number in the history of data collection,” Mr Vowles said.

“1896 assaults occurred last year, an increase of 20 per cent since the CLP Government came to power. This staggering amount of violence is affecting every aspect of our community, including public Transport.

“Seventy per cent of incidents on our bus system occur away from public interchanges and drivers rightly want more safety officers and more preventative actions to stop drunks and problem passengers getting on buses.

“One of the safety audit recommendations was to establish a working group of Police, Larrakia Nation Patrols and stakeholders to address anti-social behaviour – this needs to be urgently implemented and consideration given to extra patrols to stop drunks getting on buses.

“The CLP Government needs to release an implementation report outlining what measures have been put in place to date and what is still outstanding.

“Territory Bus drivers and passengers deserve a stronger focus on their safety not just knee jerk reactions after incidents.

“The CLP Government needs to stop ignoring the evidence on the streets and in the crime stats that public drunkenness is out of control and unfortunately our public transport system is bearing the brunt.”


Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667


Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Ken Vowles, today referred the Tiwi $1 million payment scandal to the Auditor General in a bid to get to the bottom of what has happened to the money and what, if any, laws have been broken.

Mr Vowles said for the past two days in Parliament the Chief Minister had repeatedly failed to adequately answer a series of questions which had been prompted by the disclosure of extraordinary Freedom of Information documents raising doubts about the legality of what had gone on.

“The email trail between senior public servants and members of the Government is so concerning that we need an independent investigator to answer the questions that Adam Giles will not,” Mr Vowles said.

“What we know is that the Land Development Corporation has paid $1 million to a company called Tiwi Resources following an agreement signed by the Chief Minister’s CEO Gary Barnes and John Hicks, the Tiwi Land Council’s representative.

“The Land Development Corporation was not a party to the agreement, yet it still released the money without even seeing a Cabinet decision.

“This is a clear breach of the Land Development Corporation’s Act.

“Adam Giles has been unable to tell us where the money is now, what it’s been used for, and whether or not the Land Development Corporation will ever see a return on its investment.”

He said the former Auditor General first raised concerns about the deal in his last interim report to the Parliament. It’s now appropriate that the Opposition hand over all its documents to the new Auditor General so that she may forensically investigate the facts, email trails and money trail to find out what’s happened.

“Labor has always supported the economic development of indigenous communities, but where taxpayers’ money is involved decisions need to be transparent, accountable and follow the rules of good governance,” Mr Vowles said.

“Prima facie it does not appear that this has happened with this transfer of money.”



Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667

Shadow Minister for Indigenous Policy, Ken Vowles, said the Chief Minister, Adam Giles, is sadly grandstanding on Indigenous economic development in Canberra despite his CLP Government failing to deliver anything to improve Indigenous disadvantage in the Territory.  
“Under the guise of pushing for Indigenous economic development, Adam Giles, is looking to change the landscape of the Territory’s Indigenous engagement,” Mr Vowles.
“Adam Giles has an obvious target of dismantling the Land Councils who have in fact provided the certainty and stability to facilitate business engagement and economic opportunities for Indigenous Territorians.
“If Adam Giles and the CLP Government were indeed genuine in their concern for the social and economic wellbeing of Indigenous Territorians they would have delivered on their raft of promises they rolled out to bush electorate in exchange for votes at the last Territory election.
“But to date they have failed to honour any of their commitments.”
Mr Vowles said the inaction and apathy from the CLP Government has done nothing to improve Indigenous economic advancement in the Territory.
“Where are Adam Giles’ long term economic strategies for remote Indigenous Territorians?”  Mr Vowles said.
“Their Canberra mates stripped $500 million out of Indigenous services in their May budget with no resistance or protest from Adam Giles or the CLP Government.
“If Adam Giles and the CLP Government were concerned about the economic development of Indigenous Territorians he would not have jeopardised their potential for future horticultural ventures by allocating massive water extraction licences to their CLP mates and failing to allocate Strategic Indigenous Reserves.
“Adam Giles dodged the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Arnhemland rather than take the opportunity for the Chief Minister to lobby the Federal Government on behalf of Indigenous Territorians for key infrastructure spend on roads and electricity that would unlock tourism and other industry potential for these remote areas.
“Rather than feigning interest in the circumstances of Indigenous Territorians after two years of broken promises and apathy Adam Giles should needs to abandon his Government’s self-serving agenda that is hindering the very development he is spruiking to Canberra and engage in proactive and constructive engagement with Traditional Owners, Land Councils and community elders.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667


Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Ken Vowles, today called on the Chief Minister Adam Giles to abandon his plans to make the Northern Territory our nation’s nuclear waste dump.

Mr Giles told ABC Radio today that there would be a “range of opportunities for the Territory Government to offer up a site” for Australia’s nuclear waste.

 “Territorians have made it clear that they do not want a nuclear waste dump,” Mr Vowles said.

 “But today on ABC Radio the Chief Minister said the CLP Government will look at nominating a nuclear waste dump site in the Territory if a successful site is not nominated by a Land Council.

 “What plans does Adam Giles have for nuclear waste dump in the Territory and which sites does he have in mind?”

Mr Vowles said Adam Giles is fixated on a cash grab for the CLP Government rather than representing the strong held public views that a site should be chosen on science rather than a cash grab.

“Mr Giles needs to explain to Territorians why he is ignoring legitimate environmental and safety concerns that Territorians hold in relation to a nuclear waste dump,” Mr Vowles said.

“Territorians went to the polls with both the CLP and Territory Labor opposed to a nuclear waste dump. Adam Giles does not have a mandate to make our land toxic.”

Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667


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.”

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 Treasurers,

  •   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 




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