MEDIA RELEASE – PM reheats old defence funding for the Top End, but must commit to local businesses getting the work

DARWIN – 28 April 2021

It’s been almost two years since the Prime Minister last set foot in Darwin.

It’s also his first visit to the Northern Territory since the pandemic began 14 months ago.

It’s surprising it’s taken Scott Morrison so long to get up to the safest place in Australia, considering the major role the Territory has played in helping repatriate stranded Aussies at our national gold standard facility at Howard Springs.

But whenever there’s bad news, the Federal Government rolls out announcements that have been sitting in the top drawer for two years.

Whether it’s stuffing up the vaccine rollout, or allowing Olympians to skip the vaccine queue while we shut the door on stranded Australians, this Government is constantly trying to distract Australians from their own mistakes by polishing up old news.

This Federal Government has missed key milestones in defence capability, and it has under-resourced our troops for too long.

I welcome any federal spending in the Territory to boost our local economy, but it’s a shame today’s announcement of $747 million is a rehash of a 2019 closed tender, and way over the initial budget.

It’s up to $447 million over the tender estimates. Another Defence budget blow-out.

This Government is all about the photo op, with no follow-up.

Australia needs to improve its sovereign capability, and Darwin is a location of major national defence significance.

Let’s see this money actually get spent, and let’s see local businesses contracted to do the work.