MEDIA – Territory FM – Transcript – The PM needs to bring Bladin Point online immediately
DARWIN – 4 May 2021
MEL LITTLE, HOST: Joining us now is Luke Gosling. Good morning, Gos. How are you doing?
LUKE GOSLING, MEMBER FOR SOLOMON: Good.
LITTLE: Good to talk to you, buddy. How was the weekend?
GOSLING: Massive, big, long weekend.
LITTLE: Understatement, right?
GOSLING: And here there’s so much on this weekend. We had May Day yesterday, which was really big. And some awesome music down on the Esplanade. And it’s really good just for people to have that long weekend as the weather comes good, as these massive concerts come to town, and we’re back in business.
LITTLE: Yeah, absolutely. We certainly are open for business here in the Northern Territory. There were some 9,000 people that went to the amphitheatre. Absolutely huge.
GOSLING: Yeah, for Carl Cox. There’s never been so many people that had never heard of Carl Cox before talk about how good Carl Cox is.
LITTLE: I didn’t know. I had no idea who Carl Cox was. I was one of those people.
GOSLING: I was one of them, too. But apparently he just belted out heaps of phat – P-H-A-T – tracks and everyone had an absolute ball up at the amphitheatre. So, yeah, well done. And just fantastic initiative to get him here. And people flooded in from down south to have a good time. And I know there’ll be a lot of returnees all over the long weekend.
LITTLE: Absolutely. Now, no rest for you, buddy. You might be a little battle-weary from the weekend, but you’re out and about this morning. You’re out at Bladin Point?
GOSLING: Yeah, well you and I spoke about this in the past, but we’ve got a fantastic facility out here at Bladin Point. And it’s obviously been a fantastic help during the quarantine, quarantining of the US Marines who are coming in here to train. And also there’s the massive maintenance overhaul going on out at the Inpex plant, so there’s a lot of workers that have come in here to do that work out at the Inpex plant. But I guess the good news is – and I’ve been talking to the Prime Minister about this – is that we’ve got a facility here which can really help to bring in more people to the Territory safely, and into Australia safely, by using these fantastic facilities out here at Bladin Point.
LITTLE: Yeah, absolutely. Now, obviously at the moment, the repatriation flights out of India have stopped, and that’s through until the 15th, right?
GOSLING: Yeah. According to the latest reports on the news this morning, it’s going to be reviewed on the 15th of May. But we all know that there are tens of thousands of people there either wanting to get home, or that industry are wanting to come and pick fruit or go back to uni. So it’s about getting back to normal process, Mel, and it’s got to be done in a safe way. And I guess what we’ve found is with hotel quarantine, that’s
not a safe way to do it. So we just continue to call on the Federal Government. And when Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister, was here recently, he was asked about Bladin Point. It’s pretty obvious that this is another world class facility where, like Howard Springs, with some support from the Federal Government, we can play a role which will be good for our industries, good for our university, because it’s got to be done in a safe way. And having a look at the facilities out here, you know, it can be done safely here as opposed to hotel quarantine.
LITTLE: Yeah, yeah. So I guess I guess at the end of the day, the goal is a national approach rather than a Northern Territory approach. We need to do our bit to get all Australians home, not just Northern Territorians.
GOSLING: No, that’s right. But they can come through here in a safe and organised way because a national plan for quarantine is what everyone has been waiting for this whole time. And, you know, without getting too political, it’s been pretty obvious that the Prime Minister has preferred to sort of blame certain states over time when, you know, pretty much everyone understands the quarantine is a federal responsibility.
So we just want the Prime Minister to stand up and do the right thing, and really make savings as well, because there is a facility here that doesn’t need to be built. With some assistance for a proper health facility, proper fitting out of the health facilities here, for example, it can play a role the same way Howard Springs is for the nation, but it can be done safely out here at Bladin Point. And that’s what we’ll continue to push for when I return to Canberra next week for the Budget.
LITTLE: Is there a financial windfall waiting for the Territory if we were to use that facility? Is it worth it as far as coin’s concerned? Let’s face it, the Territory needs every dollar we can get.
GOSLING: We certainly do, Mel. And I think what we’ve got here is another opportunity to make sure that everyone in the Top End that is out of work can have a job. That’s a local benefit. But also, there’s so many contractors that will be supplying, and if there’s people coming in from interstate, like a seasonal work or there’s a gap year from uni, you know, some of them will stay. Of course, there is some stress on accommodation at the moment.
But the good thing about Bladin Point is that we can have this facility operating for the good of the country and getting stranded Australians back home, getting people in for our industry, getting people in to go to our university. But it’s also got accommodation out here for the people working at the facility. It can be sectioned off so that it doesn’t create more rental stress in the Darwin and Palmerston market. So, you know, it’s what we often call a no-brainer, Mel. It’s something that should be pretty obvious. And we hope to continue those conversations with the Federal Government next week back in Canberra.
LITTLE: Excellent stuff, Luke. Thanks for the chat this morning, buddy. You take care and looking forward to talking to you after you have those conversations with the big fellas down south.
GOSLING: Thank you, Mel.
LITTLE: Have a great day. Luke Gosling there with some fairly obvious points being made regards in regards to Bladin Point. But we all know that obvious and common sense doesn’t always translate when we talk to the Federal Government.