23 May 2018




SUBJECT/S: Senate Estimates, NAIF

KATIE WOOLF; PRESENTER 360 WITH KATIE WOOLF: Joining me live from Canberra is Senator Malarndirri McCarthy. Good morning.

SENATOR MALARNDIRRI MCCARTHY, SENATOR FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY: Good morning Katie, and to all your listeners a very good morning.

WOOLF: Plenty of people including myself are keen to find out how far away from a financial commitment for the Cities Deal. Senator, like I mentioned there has been a lot of talk about this Cities Deal. You asked the Minister, Nigel Scullion about this Cities Deal yesterday, what update did you get?

MCCARTHY: Well I certainly didnt get too much of an update other than theres further conversations and further discussions. But there is no financial commitment Katie and that was really the disappointing part of the exchange with Minister Scullion yesterday during Estimates. And I would certainly encourage your listeners to go to my Facebook page and have a really good look at that exchange.

WOOLF: I know that I have spoken to you about it before, I have spoken to the Chief Minister, Ive spoken to the Federal Minister responsible, Gary Higgins, absolutely everybody and seems as though everyone wants the Deal to go ahead I am just not sure whats holding it up at this point?

MCCARTHY: I just think that everyone is very good at talking. Everyone is very good at Talking about the Cities Deal, but there is no money on the table and this is what the Senate Budget Estimates is all about. Were drilling down into the Prime Ministers Budget looking at the figures and asking the relevant Ministers, and in this case Minister Scullion, just where is the money thats been set aside supposedly for the Darwin Cities Deal because the other cities like Launceston like Townsville, theyve received their funding, its very clear what is going to happen in those respective cities.

WOOLF: Last week the Leader of the Opposition Gary Higgins said the delay was because the Northern Territory Labor Government hasnt submitted updated detailed plans after changing plans for Miley point. Is that the case?

MCCARTHY: Well Gary Higgins is incorrect because you have as many plans as you like and I know that the Chief Minister in the Northern Territory Government had very firm plans in particular also with the Darwin City Council. The question is show us the money and there is no money and that was really the clinch of the discussion yesterday, looking at the Budget books, there is no money. What is going on?

WOOLF: Well like you said other places this process seems to have happened a lot faster, I just dont understand what the hold-up is in the Northern Territory I means the sceptic in me wonders if theyre we waiting for a Federal Election to be called before money is going to be put on the table, in which case I dont think that is the right thing to do. We dont want a situation where it is dependent on who is elected as to whether the money comes through or not.

MCCARTHY: I think that is a very fair question that youre asking and I think most Territorians would probably be feeling the same thing and it would be unfortunate if there is a wait until a Federal Election to show the money. It is important, certainly to the people of Darwin and Palmerston that there is clarity over this future. Even for CDU and the plans that it has and the importance of trying to bring some more substantial benefits to Darwin city. To make the city far more vibrant and exciting for people to come to and for people who are living there. I think the thing that I was pointing out in the Estimates process is that these other cities around the country have their deals on the table, yet we are constantly being fed that here you are, this is what it looks like but it is out of our reach. And that is what I find enormously frustrating and I point that out to the Minister to the Department and say this is not good enough for the people of the Northern Territory dont do this to us.

WOOLF: You know I agree. I dont like to be critical of Government s all the time, I dont want to sound like I am kicking the boot in every five minutes but at the end of the day, we are in a situation now where we signed this off, really some time ago

MCCARTHY: Well it is nearly a year, it will be a year at the end of this week when they signed the MOU and we are still talking about it.

WOOLF: Still talking about it and still hoping that it will come to fruition we have to take them by their word I guess that it is going to happen but until that money is there it is hard for anybody to have certainty.

MCCARTHY: And at the moment it is all talk.

WOOLF: We know that this isnt the only topic thats on the agenda of course during the Senate Estimates process. What else is on the agenda or to be discussed that impacts the Northern Territory?

MCCARTHY: I was certainly questioning about the roads, the Buntine Highway and the Central Arnhem Road and the money that is supposedly set for the Northern Territory in relation roads. That money is way off into the distance which is quite disappointing and the other thing that is coming up if PFAS and education, so I want to look at PFAS in particular for Katherine and Darwin and the issues that are happening there and just where is the Defence Department at and where is the Health Department at? And of course, aviation coming up this afternoon and Ill certainly be diving into the issues of aviation for the people of the Northern Territory.

WOOLF: They are all extremely important issues for us here in the Northern Territory. Senator Malarndirri McCarthy do keep us up to date with how things are tracking, wed be keen to find out more about what comes out of this process.

MCCARTHY: Will do Katie lovely to talk to you.