Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Natasha Fyles, today said the Opposition welcomes Adam Giles’ backflip on rushing ahead to privatise Darwin Ports.
“The Territory Opposition has consistently called on the Government to halt their asset sales program and consult with Territorians,” Ms Fyles said.
“Territorians know they cannot trust Adam Giles to operate in their best interests, given his track record of rushing to privatise TIO without any form of public consultation.
“We are yet to see the terms of reference and details of the committee, but on first glance we wonder if five weeks is long enough for proper consultation.
“This timing suggests the Chief Minister is engaging in a cynical exercise with the report due on the eve of the March sittings, ready in time to push through the sale legislation.
“A good place to start is for the government to immediately release its business case and cost/benefit analysis, which they should have done before they announced this late last year.
“While it is great to see Adam Giles is trying to change his approach but Territorians are not naïve and know that the cautionary tale of the fate of the now disposed QLD LNP Leader, Campbell Newman, would be influencing Giles’ about face.”
Ms Fyles said the Privatisation of Darwin Port will have a detrimental effect on the cost of living for Territorians as Territorians will foot the bill of freight increases of commercial rates.
Ms Fyles said the Darwin hearing of the Senate Inquiry into the Privatisation of state and territory assets and new infrastructure will be held on Monday.
“Territorians do not want their public assets privatised,” Ms Fyles said.
“The Senate Inquiry will hear evidence about the CLP’s actions to sell TIO without a public mandate under the guise of attracting federal government incentive payments and concerns about the potential sale of other Territory assets.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
The Leader of the Opposition today moved to censure the Chief Minister, Adam Giles, for his actions to cover up an inquiry into political donations, the details around a $1million payment to the Tiwi Land Council his plans to sell public assets.
“The Chief Minister has repeatedly denied links between CLP slush fund Foundation 51 and the CLP yet emails leaked show $200,000 was used to fund CLP election campaigns,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Territorians are left wondering what has the CLP got to hide after they used their numbers in Parliament to prevent an Inquiry into political donations?
“The dust had barely settled on the Casuarina by-election before Adam Giles was taking out full page advertisements spruiking the sale and long term lease of the Territory Insurance Office and the Darwin Port.
“If Adam Giles and the CLP Government had nothing to hide and were confident that their decisions to sell public assets were in the best interest of Territorians, then why were they not upfront with Casuarina residents before they went to the polls last weekend?”
Ms Lawrie said the CLP Government had sunk to new lows these Sittings and questions about Foundation 51 political donations, the $1million Tiwi deal and public asset sales would be pursued in the interest of integrity and transparency.
“Territorians deserve a Government that operates with transparency and accountability,” Ms Lawrie said.
“In Government, Labor will establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption.
“When challenged to establish an ICAC today Adam Giles ruled it out. When challenged to establish an inquiry into political donations in the last four years, Adam Giles ruled it out. What has the CLP got to hide?”
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Ken Vowles, today said that further evidence has arisen that the CLP Government is pushing ahead with their privatisation plans for Darwin Ports.
“The CLP Government has begun a baseline review of Darwin Ports; they are clearly sizing up this important public asset for sale,” Mr Vowles said.
“Treasurer, Dave Tollner, confirmed earlier this week on ABC Drive that they “haven’t ruled out privatisations” for all of the Territory’s public assets.
“The CLP Government is hell-bent on selling off the Territory’s assets for quick cash grabs and the Darwin Ports is in the crosshairs.
“The privatisation of the Darwin port is an attack on jobs and cost of living in the Territory.”
Mr Vowles said that the privatisation of Darwin Ports would have a detrimental effect on Territorians; especially those employed at the ports.
“If a private company was to take over the operations of the port infrastructure in Darwin Territorians would be at the mercy of their commercial decisions,” Mr Vowles.
“Territory businesses transporting goods through the port will have to pay transport costs determined by a private profit-seeking company – increases in transport costs would be passed onto Territorians to bear.
“Workers at the port previously covered by NT Government EBA’s would lose the security of their current working conditions.
Mr Vowles said the CLP Government is pushing to sell the Territory’s public assets without a mandate.
“The CLP Government does not have permission from Territorians to sell off their valuable assets,” Mr Vowles said.
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Ken Vowles, says Casuarina residents can send the CLP a message that our major assets are not for sale.
Mr Vowles said revelations by Treasurer, Dave Tollner, on ABC Drive yesterday that "we're looking across the board at all of our assets" and that "we haven't ruled out privatisations" would raise alarm bells with Casuarina residents who are already suffering under an arrogant and out of touch CLP Government.
“Adam Giles and Dave Tollner must tell all Territorians what their plans are to sell TIO, our retail and generation utilities and the Darwin Port Corporation,” Mr Vowles said.
“It’s simply not good enough to say everything is on the table but give no further detail – these are valuable public assets that belong to Territorians, not the CLP.
“Territorians are rightly concerned that the arrogance and secrecy around the CLPs plans means a fire-sale is on the cards - which means we all end up paying more for services such as freight, power and insurance.
“This Government has form when it comes to gifting CLP mates plumb jobs and valuable public assets at a massive cost to ordinary hardworking Territorians.
“Dave Tollner then poured fuel on the CLP’s dysfunction by refusing to rule out a tilt at the Chief Minister job after the Casuarina by-election.
“Casuarina residents will soon have a chance to send the CLP a strong message that this arrogant and out of touch government needs to stop hurting Territorians and address their concerns instead of spending all their time feathering the nest of their CLP mates."
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today said that rumours were rife that the CLP Government is planning to sell TIO without any consultation with Territorians.
“Industry sources say the CLP Government is pushing ahead with their plans to sell the Territory Insurance Office, and in a cynical move plan to tell Territorians after the sale,” Ms Lawrie said.
Ms Lawrie said Territorians had made it clear through the largest petition in Territory Parliament history that they want TIO to remain a public asset.
“Territorians fought to save their TIO and the CLP Government has no mandate to sell,” Ms Lawrie said.
“TIO provides Territorians with insurance coverage specific to the unique conditions of Territory life including crucial cyclone and flood coverage.”
Ms Lawrie said the CLP Government does not have a mandate to sell TIO and has called on the Chief Minister Adam Giles to categorically rule out the sale or take their asset sale plan to the Casuarina by-election to give Territorians a say.
“Adam Giles and the CLP Government need to come clean with Territorians on their plans for TIO,” Ms Lawrie said.
“If the rumours are untrue then the CLP Government needs to absolutely rule out sale.”
“The upcoming Casuarina by-election will give the CLP Government the chance to gauge just how little support they will have from Territorians to sell TIO.
“Be honest with Territorians and give them a say in what happens to their public assets.”