Statement by NT Opposition leader Gary Higgins.
This time next year, we'll know the results of the 2020 Northern Territory election.
And I'm hereby promising Territorians to offer you a real alternative to the disastrous Gunner Labor Government. Yes that's right, an election promise this far out. But please bear with me.
No doubt, over the next year we'll see more dysfunction from the Gunner Labor Government, as they grapple to keep hold of power after three years of bad ideas and failures. We have record levels of debt, a Gunner Labor Government which continues to waste Territory taxpayers' hard earned dollars, and a group of people elected to do a job with very little business experience or any idea of how to run an economy.
They were elected on a protest vote against the last CLP Government in a landslide victory in 2016. We heard loud and clear their promises to be open and transparent, consultative, trustworthy, focussed and united. We've held them accountable to these promises, and they've broken every single one of them.
What we've instead seen is an arrogant, indecisive and incompetent Caucus who fight among each other and give a new meaning to chaos and dysfunction. Only nine months ago, the Treasurer told Territorians we'd be facing a $35.7 billion net debt if serious budget repair measures weren't taken. We then heard from John Langoulant who recommended a number of measures to get the budget back to the black, but all we've seen is the Chief Minister threaten teachers and front line staff for a saving of $25 million, which we won't see any time soon.
The Member for Katherine made an election promise of $250,000 from the NT Government to develop an all-purpose community centre in Katherine, but in 2017, the Katherine Sports and Recreation Club shut down. To this day, it remains a derelict site.
There was also the promise of a $150 million Katherine Heavy Vehicle bypass to be built over 20 years, but we've had no update on that since 2017, and the $30 million promised for a Katherine Logistics and Agribusiness Hub which has also been left in 2017. Katherine has been so far left behind by the Gunner Labor Government that crime is out of control, tourism numbers through the Katherine Visitor Centre are dropping, and teachers are questioning whether Katherine is the right place for them to move.
Other waste includes the $500,000 MyFuel website, which saw petrol prices rise, an $800,000 tender for the "supply and delivery of music download vouchers" for prisoners, and the $250,000 survey for the highly successful CLP initiative Million Dollar Fish competition.
But the Opposition, consisting of the Member for Spillett Lia Finocchiaro and myself, have been working hard on behalf of all Territorians. We may be a small team, but we're determined. We've had wins and we've maintained a positive and constructive relationship with the Federal Coalition Government, visiting and meeting with as many Federal Ministers as possible to lobby hard on issues including funding for the Territory's mango and beef roads.
We have gained a $216 million Federal Government commitment for upgrades to Kakadu and confirmed a rapid injection of that funding, successfully lobbied for an extra year on student visas for those who move North and championed the Cities Deals in the Northern Territory.
Importantly, we've been listening to Territorians and we've had your back.
We've successfully gone into bat over the magpie geese bag limits, the reinstatement of the tradies scheme, the funding of both a PET scanner and cyclotron in Darwin (on top of the Federal funding provided) and opposition to the proposed Pinelands youth justice facility. We exposed the $40,000 Boundless rocket expenditure and the 60 second half time Boundless Possible ad at the AFL Grand Final at a cost of $403 406.74, the single use promotional fence wrap costs, and the cost of one Boundless Possible television advertisement.
We're looking forward to the next 12 months, we'll continue to work hard for the Northern Territory on matters which mean the most to you.
We'll continue to call out the NT Government on all its immature nonsense and show the very stark contrast between the strong economic positions of the CLP and the wasteful, arrogant mismanagement from the Gunner Labor Government.
We'll launch our policies and plans ahead of the election and we've spoken about our positions on the economy and crime crisis on many occasions.
We are a different CLP team and have and will continue to work hard to earn your respect and trust, while we listen to your concerns.
At the end of September, our first round of candidates will be announced and the Party tells me we've had some exceptional Territorians put their hands up to stand in different electorates - many of them with strong business and industry backgrounds and all of them with real life experience.
Together as dedicated Territorians we'll offer you a real alternative - the Northern Territory deserves nothing less.