OPINION PIECE – Labor Leadership Tours the Top End, 6 NOVEMBER 2020

It’s been a busy few weeks after Leader Anthony Albanese touched down in Darwin recently, as a part of a three-day visit to listen to business and community members and outline his vision for the Top End.

Just moments after landing at Darwin International Airport, we took a tour of the Rapid Creek Markets with Member for Johnston Joel Bowden. 

As a part of this visit we; visited defence facilities, looked at community housing, visited childcare centres, met with business and community leaders, and the entire time we were speaking about jobs in this post COVID era. 

Albo was delighted to visit and speak with scientists and tourism operators during the visit including croc expert Professor Grahame Webb at Crocodylus Park. 

We spoke about how integral tourism is for the Top End and even snapped a cheeky pic with a baby croc who they named ‘Albo’. 

We know tourism operators and businesses have been doing it tough through this period and we are keen to work with them to ensure they are supported over this period as tourists and interstate visitors arrive in the NT.

The crew of HMAS Ararat hosted a tour of their impressive vessel as a part of Albo’s visit to the top end. Our defence forces here in the Top End are key for our nation’s security so it was important to get down to Larrakeyah Base. 

For this visit we were also joined by Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, Richard Marles who is the Shadow Defence Minister.

HMAS Ararat and her 12 sister Armidale Class Patrol Boats and Border Command’s two Cape Class Patrol Boats are the principal contributions to the nation's fisheries protection, immigration, customs and drug law enforcement operations. 

We met with Lieutenant Commander Martinussen and his crew, who assumed command of HMAS Ararat on 7 August 2020 and has been a member of the Royal Australian Navy since 1991.

He is onboard with a dedicated crew of professionals doing a variety of roles to keep our borders secure and our nation safe.

We know Darwin is a natural choice as base for Australian defence forces in close proximity to the Asian region and to the main military exercise areas in the far north.

It’s always a real honour to catch up with those who are serving and to thank them and their families for the work they do to keep our borders secure and our nation safe.

The Armidale Class Patrol Boats are highly capable and versatile warships which are able to conduct a wide variety of missions and tasks. We also spoke about the scheduling as the new Offshore Patrol Vessels or OPVs come into service.

As a part of the Leader and Deputy Leader’s visit we also headed to the Casuarina Childcare Centre, which offers incredible care to some of the youngest Territorians to talk about Labor’s childcare policy.

Labor’s plan for cheaper childcare is all about helping working families. 
It is designed to help parents get back to work and it will help families with the cost of living and it will give Aussie kids better learning opportunities.

We also met with mango growers at Tou’s Garden in Acacia Hills, who have struggled with labour shortages to assist with picking their crop. We visited this farm four years ago, and four years later their concerns remain due to the lack of support from the Federal Government. This is a critical industry for our region, worth $130 million to our economy.

The Territory is valued and recognised as crucial to the prosperity of our nation by Federal Labor, that is recognised by having the presence of three shadow ministers in Darwin in the space of a week, and I’ll continue keeping up the good fight in Canberra to advocate for the Territory and our representation in the Top End.

This week we will also have a visit by the Shadow Minister for Northern Australia Senator Murray Watt so standby for an update on that.