Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said he was disappointed Labor senators used their allocated 30 minutes of Senate debate tonight to repeat the same tired lines about the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program.
“The extent of the Federal Government’s deception about SIHIP led me to put the issue forward as a matter of public importance in Parliament today,” Senator Scullion said.
“Yet the deception continued, with symbolism over substance. I was flabbergasted to hear more than one Labor senator repeat the same meaningless script instead of responding to concerns about the amount of money that has been spent for what has been delivered.
“You would be hard-pressed to find another government program which has resulted in so many high-profile dismissals and resignations, which to me highlights the extent of its management problems.
“Last year Northern Territory Minister Alison Anderson quit the Labor party over the program’s failings, SIHIP director Jim Davidson was dismissed, and the responsible Territory minister Rob Knight was demoted in a cabinet reshuffle.
“This year one of the three Alliance Partners responsible for delivering the works was sacked, and a Government Business Manager who exposed overspending in the program did not have his contract renewed.
“It was just last week that elders in the Northern Territory community of Ngukurr said they felt ‘conned’ by the Federal Government’s promise to ease chronic overcrowding, yet Labor senators refused to shed any light on the situation.
“It is a national disgrace that while there are still people living under sheets of tin or up to 25 to a house, the Government has continually sought to disguise its waste and mismanagement in order to save face.”
Download media release:
A timeline of failures on Indigenous housing 17.11.10.pdf