08 May 2018


SUBJECT/S: Budget 2018, fracking

ADAM STEER, ABC DARWIN: What does Labor Senator, Malarndirri McCarthy, want to see Treasurer Scott Morrison deliver for the north tonight? Senator hello.

MALARNDIRRI MCCARTHY, SENATOR FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY: Good Morning Adam, good morning to your listeners.

STEER: The Turnbull Government has already promised $550 million for remote Indigenous Housing for the Territory that is on top of a $250 million GST top up is it safe to say that the budget has already delivered more for the NT than it last year?

MCCARTHY: Well it still has is a long way to go Adam. Clearly with the housing situation, lets remember that the Federal Government has a responsibility, delayed its responsibility, and now wants to make Territorians feel incredibly grateful for something that should have been a right for people in the Northern Territory for quite sometimes instead of leaving it to the last minute, with June 30 being the deadline.

STEER: Well lets look at a wish list, what funding does the Territory badly need tonight that you hope will be announced.

MCCARTHY: We need to see clear policy directions. One of the areas that has always been concerning is the entrenched poverty around CDP. The Community Development Program covers 33 000 people across Australia. A large proportion are in the Northern Territory and we know that people are going hungry in our regions that our CDP program is not effective and there needs to be deep consideration both financially but also policy-wise into the direction of CDP for participants across Australia.

STEER: Countless Federal Government who keep changing the rules and regulations around that work for the dole, we now know that that system has been rorted, what would you like to see change happen there to make it more effective?

MCCARTHY: I think that we have to be very careful here. One is the breaches that continue to keep people in entrenched poverty is impacting not only on those individuals but their families. It is of serious concern for those people across Australia who are involved, and I think for the Federal Government to be focussing on the higher end of the market in terms tax relief for big business shows that the priorities are not there about supporting the disadvantaged people in this country. That is what Labor is about, wanting to have a fairer budget that looks at bringing all people with us.

STEER: It is expected tonight that Scott Morrison will deliver small tax cuts for those on a lower income that could be around $10 a week for a lot of people, for a lot of people living in regional and remote areas, is that going to make any difference do you think?

MCCARTHY: I think we need to compare it to what they are actually doing in reality, if we look at our schools in the Northern Territory Adam, we know that $17 billion is being cut from schools, and that is $70 million in the Northern Territory alone and so those families and those students are suffering. There is no comparison here, there must be investment in education and in our whole system and in the jobs for all Australians.

STEER: On other news Senator, you have vocally opposed the Chief Minister lifting his moratorium on fracking. Why are you undermining the Territory Government?

MCCARTHY: I expressed the fact that it was an incredibly sad day for the Northern Territory when the Federal Government has been withholding so much in terms of millions of dollars to the Northern Territory and this decision had to be made within the pressure of those kind of considerations. When we look at the fact that the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF), a $5 billion dollar fund has not even spent one dollar in nearly four years it shows it is an absolute farce that the Federal Government has no care and concern for the people of the Northern Territory and to place that kind of pressure is not on.

STEER: Do you want to see the Chief Minister resign?


STEER: Cant be a good look for Labor in a year that we expect that we might go back to the polls Federally.

MCCARTHY: It is always an incredible time whatever campaign is running, Federal or Territory. There is always going to be a tough battle Adam. But I also believe that you have a good member in the Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon and I am certainly a fighter for the people for the Northern Territory as the Senator and it is an incredible honour to be one.

STEER: And you will be standing at the next Federal Election.

MCCARTHY: Absolutely

STEER: Senator, good to hear from you this morning.

MCCARTHY: Thank you.