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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



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



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 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


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