Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion has asked the Federal Government to explain why it had to top up Northern Territory funds to build two sobering up shelters in Katherine and Tennant Creek.
“The Northern Territory Government allocated $2.6 million to build the shelters in the 2008 budget, but cost blow-outs meant all the money was spent in Katherine,” Senator Scullion said.
“It is convenient to say the least, that more than two years after the shelter was first announced and one month before the election, Federal Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon allocated $2.3 million to his own electorate to fulfil the broken promise.
Senator Scullion tabled questions during Senate Estimates on Friday about why the Federal Government was bailing out its Territory counterpart, and what measures were being taken to ensure the money wasn’t wasted a second time around.
“Sadly, it is the same pattern of overspending and under-delivering that we have come to expect from Labor governments. They insisted construction would be underway by the end of last year, but calls for tenders only closed midway through January.
“There are also reports that only $1.4m of the $2.3m allocated for capital works is needed to build the shelter. That leaves nearly $1m unallocated, so where is the rest of the money going?
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous Health Andrew Laming said it was appalling that Federal funds had to be brought in because the Territory Government couldn’t get value for money.
“Tennant Creek has been waiting more than two and a half years for this much-needed alcohol service and the project is again beset with delays and cost blow-outs,” Mr Laming said.
“The Government must announce when the shelter will be completed and what measures are in place to ensure the new funds are being spent wisely.”
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Double the funds and 3 years late, sobering up shelter still not built 27.2.11.pdf