TRANSCRIPT: 5 April 2019 Budget Reply, Labors Medicare Cancer plan, Labor investments in the NT

05 April 2019


SUBJECTS: Budget Reply, Labors Medicare Cancer plan, Labor investments in the NT

KATIE WOOLF, PRESENTER 360 MIX 104.9 DARWIN: Joining me on the line to tell us more about the Budget reply is the Northern Territory, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy. Good morning.


WOOLF: Thank you, thanks for waiting. Now I know its a been a big week, no doubt about it in Canberra with firstly the Budget being handed down and then, of course, Bill Shortens Budget reply overnight. We know that there are certainly a really big focus from the Labor Opposition for cancer patients.

MCCARTHY: Yes that is right Katie. We are still here today with Estimates in Canberra but the important information and relation to the Northern Territory is that that commitment by Bill Shorten, should Labor be elected is a significant one. We have 800 people in the Northern Territory who are diagnosed every year with cancer, and it is the leading cause of death in the Northern Territory. It is going to bring enormous relief and assistance to cancer sufferers and their families should we be elected.

WOOLF: Malarndirri, what else was in it for Territorians? I know earlier in the week there was lots of conjecture about the Federal Government and what they had promised for Territorians. But what is in it from the Opposition for Territorians?

MCCARTHY: Naturally once the election is officially kicked off there will be more that we will reveal over the coming weeks. But what we can certainly say to people now is that we have made a commitment of $220 million to Kakadu and we will begin to roll that out in our first budget again, if we are successful in winning and that will happen in our first budget, the start of rolling that out. And that is a significant investment. And then, of course, we know that education and housing. With education and housing, we can see at least $40 million of investment to our schools right across the Northern Territory, and that is a massive injection into our schools' system which I think is going to impact on a very positive level for all families.

WOOLF: Malarndirri what would you say, I guess there will be a lot of people listening this morning thinking what makes the Labor partys Budget reply that they have handed down overnight different to what the Federal Government handed down earlier in the week? What would you say are some of the key differences?

MCCARTHY: Well the key difference is that we are going to inject funding into health and education which was not the case with the Federal Budget. We are certainly going to maintain and increase our input into the NDIS which the Government cut in order to make the spends that it wants to make. That is a clear difference for people with disabilities and their families. We will certainly be looking after those families through the NDIS. And ff course the CDP program in the regional areas, we are going to abolish that and put into place a much better program. These are things that are very obvious to the people on the ground in the Northern Territory.

WOOLF: Malarndirri just on to another topic and one that you and I have discussed a number of times and that is the looking into the airlines and looking into the flights, the flight inquiry for regional parts of Australia. Has there been any further progress on that? I just know that earlier in the week we were contacted by a couple listeners about the price of airfares as we always are because they are pretty expensive getting around Australia from the Territory.

MCCARTHY: Absolutely Katie and pass on those details and those listeners who call in with those concerns because our inquiry will continue irrespective of the election. We will be tabling that report in June and thankfully if I may add we can also continue to ask Air North to put in a submission to the inquiry which I think is a really important thing for Air North to do.

WOOLF: Ok so it will continue regardless of when the election is called and June is when we will have a bit more detail.

MCCARTHY: Absolutely. I am really pleased that due to the protocols of the Senate there are some Committees and Inquiries that will be able to continue and that is one of them.

WOOLF: Malarndirri there are lots of people wondering when this Federal election is going to be called. Do you reckon if it is this weekend?

MCCARTHY: Me too. It is funny we are all here continuing our work in Parliament House, but it is kind of like the elephant in the room really. We are all continuing with the things that we need to do but everyone sort of keeps looking out the window to see if the Prime Minister has driven to Yarralumla yet which is where he has to go to get the Governor General to acquiesce to the call for an election. So everyone is watching and waiting, but there has been no movement, unfortunately.

WOOLF: Are you tipping this weekend?

MCCARTHY: I think the odds are on this weekend, possibly Sunday if it doesnt happen today then I guess Sunday could be the day. Who knows really we have been saying that just about every month for the last 12 months. Your guess is as good as mine.

WOOLF: Well if it does happen you will have to send us a message, so we know. I mean I am sure we will see it but if you see that car drive past, or you see the PM walk past make sure you let us know.

MCCARTHY: Well Katie there is a lot of people who are looking out the windows at parliament house so there you go. But we will let you know if it happens today.

WOOLF: No doubt. Malarndirri McCarthy thanks so much for your time this morning. It is always good to hear from you.

MCCARTHY: Thank you, Katie.