Revelations today that Michael Gunner is misleading Territorians on his investment in remote housing is an indictment on his character and casts doubt over every promise he makes to Aboriginal people in remote communities.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said that the ABC has uncovered the shocking truth that Michael Gunner’s Government has only spent $62.7 million over the past two years despite his so called $110 million a year commitment to remote Indigenous housing.
“This is exactly why I am demanding transparency and accountability from the Northern Territory Government before I provide the Commonwealth’s $550 million investment.
“The Commonwealth has been clear about what’s needed for our $550 million to be paid to the Northern Territory Government:
1) The funding must be used to address overcrowding
2) Aboriginal people through their representative bodies need to be involved in governance arrangements
3) There must be transparency about how the funding is spent
4) Indigenous employment and business outcomes should be maximised
“These are our priorities because they are what people in remote communities and Land Councils have told me is their priority.
“I am genuinely concerned that Michael Gunner isn’t agreeing to these requests because he doesn’t have the money and he knows that the Land Councils will call him out on it if they are involved.
“Michael Gunner is now not only presiding over a financially bankrupt government, the Gunner Labor Government is now a morally bankrupt government too.
“Gerry McCarthy has also been out misleading Territorians in an attempt to create confusion but he should know that Aboriginal people in remote communities won’t cop out.
“Gerry McCarthy is wrong to say that I have not secured any new funding for remote housing in the NT. Look at the 2018/19 Budget Paper No 2 – it shows the Commonwealth’s $110 million housing commitment clear and simple. (Attached is a copy just for clarity sake).
“Gerry needs to retract that comment and show in his budget papers where the Northern Territory Government’s $110 million is?
“Even worse, Gerry McCarthy is wrong to say that the Commonwealth’s investment in Land Councils to support their engagement and capability on housing is tokenistic.
“I’m sick of people making claims about what Aboriginal people think without talking to them.
“I met with the Central Land Council yesterday and sat down and listened to their views. This is not tokenistic, this is a respectful relationship.
“Gerry needs to retract that comment and also apologise to the 24,000 Aboriginal people that the Central Land Council represents?
“When was the last time Gerry McCarthy or any member of the Gunner Government even met with the Central Land Council?
“Despite the criticisms Michael Gunner and his Ministers have thrown at me over the past week, I want to sit down and work with Territory Labor to get our record investment in remote housing working for the people we should be focused on.
“I invite Michael Gunner or any of his Ministers to meet with me at any time to discuss this critical issue for the future of the Territory.