Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022



1:30 pm

Photo of Malarndirri McCarthyMalarndirri McCarthy (NT, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

If the government is defeated in May, its parting gift to Australians will be an increase in petrol prices in September, pay not keeping up with prices, a trillion dollars in debt, and rising interest rates. That is of little comfort to people in regional and remote areas of Australia. In Ramingining right now, petrol prices are over $3. Remote middle eastern Arnhem Land is paying $3. In your budget statement last night, for those covered by CDP—which covers over 40,000 participants across Australia, most of whom are in the Northern Territory and many of whom would be in places like Ramingining—there was no sense of future. You talk about unemployment, but you do not talk about the underemployment. You do not talk about the people that you're leaving behind under failed programs like the Community Development Program. There is no vision and no hope. There are skirmishes and prevention against what has been challenged against this government around the unfairness and the discrimination of CDP. There is nothing in the budget books that says, 'This is what we're going to do.'

You talk about re-engagement. Well, the Warlpiri elders of the Northern Territory were misled into believing that they would be part of that engagement. Of five trial sites across Australia, one went to the Northern Territory, yet we are the deepest in need with this underfunded, no-hope future program that shows no way out of the disadvantage that we're experiencing in a lot of these communities. The Prime Minister will do and say anything before an election, and even his own side don't trust him to deliver what he promises.