TERRITORY LABOR LEADER
18 July 2016 - Territory Labor Leader, Michael Gunner, said Adam Giles and the CLP have released an unfunded, uncosted policy on housing which proves they can’t be trusted to deliver in the bush.
“Territorians simply can't trust Adam Giles and the CLP to deliver on housing when they haven’t put a single Territory dollar towards it,” Mr Gunner said.
“The CLP has built one new house in two years, and with just six weeks to go before a Territory election, they release a policy with no information as to where the money is coming from.
“Indigenous Territorians living in remote communities deserve better.
“In sharp contrast – Territory Labor announced in December 2015 a fully costed policy to deliver more houses and rooms in the bush. At $1.1 billion dollars of Territory funds, our remote housing policy remains the biggest commitment in the history of any Territory Government if we are elected.
“Labor recognises that the Northern Territory does not have the budget capacity alone to achieve the outcomes required in this area and we will be seeking Australian Government support, in addition to Territory Labor’s $1.1 billion commitment. We believe this is an investment in nation building.
“To successfully argue the case for increased investment from the Australian Government, Labor believes the Territory Government needs to bring some real funds and commitment to the table and that’s what our policy does.
“Labor has also committed to returning control over housing back to locals. Local control means local control. Aboriginal people will control the building of housing, repairs and maintenance and housing allocations.
“We will work in partnership with locals to ensure they receive the training and jobs from our commitment to remote housing.
“Territory Labor’s commitment is fully funded and will be a reality if we are fortunate to be elected in August. The CLP’s commitment is uncosted, unfunded and unbelievable.
“This latest desperate and deceitful effort from Adam Giles shows he simply can’t be trusted to deliver on remote housing.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Gino Luglietti - 0401 119 794
13 December 2015 - Labor Leader Michael Gunner today committed $1.1 billion to fund the most extensive remote housing construction, repairs, maintenance and home extensions program in Territory history.
Launching Labor’s remote housing package in Ngukurr today Michael Gunner said that Labor’s program would result in thousands of additional rooms being built over 10 years to house remotely located Territorians.
“The most significant infrastructure deficit and social issue impacting on Territorians living in remote communities is the lack of housing.
“Every Labor bush candidate has told me that housing is the number one issue. I have heard it myself repeatedly as I travel through the bush.
“Labor has listened and if we are elected to Government we will work to fix this problem.”
Michael Gunner said that Labor would:
Michael Gunner said that the funding would begin in 2017-18 following a round of extensive consultation.
“Importantly, we will talk to the Australian Government and seek their participation to help resolve this major national, Territory and local problem. By demonstrating our commitment we will lead the way to increase the commitment from the Australian Government,” Mr Gunner said.
Media contact: Gino Luglietti - 0401 119 794
13 December 2015 - Labor Leader Michael Gunner today said a Labor Government will focus five housing programs into remote Territory communities to ensure more rooms are available for thousands of Territorians.
“We will introduce 5 focused housing programs:
HomeBuild NT- A direct Territory Government investment in building new housing, living space and rooms in remote communities. These funds will be additional to the Australian Government’s commitment through the national partnership. Labor will provide $500 million over 10 years from Territory infrastructure budgets to pay for this program.
An additional $20 million per year of Territory Government infrastructure funds in repairs and maintenance of houses.
Labor will introduce a new program called Room To Breathe NT. This program will fast track the building of rooms, ‘granny flats’ and spaces designed to provide more living space, sleeping spaces and shelter for remote Territorians. The program will include outdoor living and cooking areas. $20 million per year will be provided from 2017- 18 onwards. Once underway this program is expected to provide around 200 more living areas and sleeping spaces each year.
An expanded Government employee housing program that is accessible by locally recruited remote Government employees. Labor will provide $20 million per year additionally to support this initiative.
An expanded Homelands Extra funding program. Labor will lift the program to $6000 per eligible family per year and reform the eligibility criteria.”
Michael Gunner said that Labor’s program was focused on increasing the number of rooms available to people across the Territory.
“Our new construction program in Home Build NT and in the Government Employee Housing program is designed to provide new, appropriately designed houses.
“The repairs and maintenance program will allow Territorians to live in houses that are not falling down around them.
“Most excitingly, our Room To Breath program will see a Labor Government working with communities to build ‘granny flats’ expand verandah and outdoor sleeping spaces and to provide healthy outdoor eating and living areas to free up space inside housing for people to sleep,” Michael Gunner said.
“If we do not provide more housing and more space to sleep for Territorians living in remote communities we will never overcome the health, education and employment gaps in those places.”
13 December 2015 - Labor Leader Michael Gunner said he will reverse the centralised decision making that currently surrounds housing and will devolve responsibility to shires, regional authorities or to approved housing groups. The people will have the decision making about what to build, where to build, how to build and who will build.
“Labor will work with Territorians living in remote communities to allow them to determine who will make these decisions. I will not impose any “one size fits all’ solutions. We will trust remote Territorians to make the right decisions about who should oversight and implement housing programs,” Michael Gunner said.
Mr Gunner said the impact of removing decision making from local communities has resulted in a housing tenancy program that was slow to resolve issues for tenants and confusion on the ground as to who is responsible for what parts of the program.
“I am determined to allow local people to make local decisions.
“I will ensure that a Labor Government works with communities to capacity build local people to manage these programs where required.”
13 December 2015 - Labor Leader Michael Gunner said today the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s decision to count all remote housing funding provided by the Australian Government as part of the GST allocation to the Territory will cost Territorians millions of dollars in lost revenue.
“This decision means there will be millions less dollars for services to remote communities.
“In the future all additional money provided to the Territory Government by the Australian Government through national partnership programs like NPARIH will be taken away from the GST allocation.
“Effectively this means the Australian Government will be giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
“Currently these programs provide housing for the poorest people in Australia. In the interests of equity, remote service delivery should be a major national project. States and Territories with extensive remote communities should partner with the Australian Government to improve the living conditions for thousands of Australians.
“Instead the Commonwealth Grants Commission has thrown spanner in the works and Labor calls on the Federal Treasurer to reverse this decision.”
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Policy Ken Vowles said today that comments by Senator Nigel Scullion showed how the CLP has completely abandoned the bush at a National and Territory level.
Mr Vowles said Senator Scullion’s statement that he saw no problem with Indigenous Territorians staying on work for the dole programs for generations showed the CLP had no intention of developing regional economies.
“Senator Scullion’s astounding comments show the CLP has put the bush in the ‘too hard’ basket.
“For him to say there is nothing wrong with people being on work for dole programs forever and to brush off remote communities by saying there is no economy is appalling.
“He doesn’t recognise there are opportunities to develop regional economies in the Territory but it means working in a real partnership with local people and the land councils.
“As an example there are caring for country and ranger programs that provide real employment and skills development on country, but Senator Scullion doesn’t recognise that.
“The Territory CLP and the Federal Liberal Governments need to abandon their approach of taking away people’s rights to land as a pre-requisite to development.
“Labor is developing policies that will see real jobs opportunities in remote communities but we won’t be taking away people’s land rights to do this.
‘We will work in partnership with local communities and land councils to grow and support local initiatives to develop stronger regions with decent housing and real jobs.”
Mr Vowles said Senator Scullion should be apologising to Indigenous Territorians for his comments that compared Aboriginal people to cave dwellers and animals.
“I was shocked when I read his statement that: ‘Many of my communities live on the floor, it is like a cave. I think that one of the characteristics of civilisation must be that you don’t have to eat at the same level as your animals.’
“If Senator Scullion is so concerned about improving living conditions in remote communities he needs to get on with improving housing.
“He may want to ask his CLP Government colleagues why they have scaled back on their original commitment to spend $41 million on remote area housing in the coming financial year, under the National Partnership on Remote Indigenous Housing.
“That has been slashed to $8.8million due to the CLP’s incompetence and bungling.”
Louise Connor 0438 241211