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
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today said that Territory Labor was deeply saddened by the passing of our 21st Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam.
“Gough was a great Australian and extraordinary Labor leader who as Prime Minister undertook fundamental reforms that contributed so much to the social advancement of our nation,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Australians have Gough Whitlam to thank for changes that have helped shape the great country we know and love.
“Gough provided us with an inclusive society, may we all strive to uphold his legacy.
“As Prime Minister he delivered changes to policies to improve gender equality, provide access to Tertiary education, tackle racial discrimination, introduce universal health care and reforms of the Family Law to provide a ‘no-fault’ divorce.
“The Territory in particular benefited under Gough Whitlam as he presided over Self Government and established the first Department of Aboriginal Affairs and supported the Aboriginal Land Rights movement through the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.
“One of the most important actions of Gough Whitlam was the handing back of Wave Hill station to Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji people to recognise their claim to the land.
“Our nation today recognises a truly great Australian and a wonderful man who for many defined the values of what it is to be Australian.”
Ms Lawrie said Gough Whitlam as Prime Minister responded to the needs of our great capital Darwin in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy with compassion and significant resources to help us rebuild our lives.
“As a child I remember presenting a posy of flowers outside our Legislative Assembly to Margaret Whitlam as she stood strong and proud alongside Gough, they were truly great Australians who literally and metaphorically towered above others,” Ms Lawrie said.
“A truly great man now rests in peace with his beloved Margaret. Our deepest sympathies go to all his family and many, many friends.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie has called on Chief Minister Adam Giles to explain why the CLP’s plan to develop Northern Australia includes a disgraceful pitch to compulsorily acquire Aboriginal land.
“Adam Giles has been vocal about his intentions to try to get CLP control of the Land Rights Act and now it appears plans to go down the shocking route of compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal land,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Adam Giles must explain why a version of the submission to the Federal Government about northern development talked about the NT having the power to compulsorily acquire Indigenous land.
“It's time for the Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion to rule out the CLP bid to grab land from Indigenous Territorians," Ms Lawrie said.
“Or does he support the CLP in their bid to ride roughshod over the land rights Territorians have fought so hard to win?"
Ms Lawrie said the CLP has already lost the support of three Indigenous MLAs who have defected to the Palmer United Party and are under pressure with a litany of broken promises to the bush.
“Adam Giles should be planning how he is going to deliver his broken promises to the bush, improve housing, roads and access to services," Ms Lawrie said.
“Instead he is caught with a bid to strip away the hard-won land rights of Aboriginal Territorians.”
Media contact: Michael Gleeson 0400 096 924