Snowdon 'pork-barreling with other people's money'


Tina McFarlane (left), Country Liberals candidate for Lingiari, has in a media release accused Warren Snowdon of “raiding the NT Aboriginals Benefits Account (ABA) to pork-barrel his election campaign”.
She says: “It’s no coincidence that Snowdon announced a $7m splurge from the ABA bang in the middle of the election campaign. Obviously, he thinks he can buy votes with other people’s money.
“The ABA is funded by the Australian Taxpayer through the Aboriginal Land Rights Act to support projects that benefit the indigenous people of the Northern Territory.
“For Labor to prop up a tired and ineffective politician with Aboriginal money shows contempt for the people of Lingiari. I reckon indigenous people in particular are tired of being used as political footballs.”
Meanwhile Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister Senator Nigel Scullion (above, right), says in a media release that Minister Jenny Macklin’s speech on Labor plans for Indigenous affairs was “underwhelming and more about throwing money around, bureaucratic plans and targets rather than results”.
He says: “Labor announced $90 million, to come from the ABA for government employee housing – I doubt that Aboriginal people living in overcrowded conditions would see government employee housing as a priority.
“And Labor will make a mess of it in the same way as they did with the hopeless billion dollar plus NT remote housing program. Funding announced for homelands is welcome.
“The ABA is funded through the Aboriginal Land Rights Act to support projects that benefit indigenous people in the Northern Territory. It is Aboriginal money and should not be thrown about in an election campaign as a political football.
“The Coalition supports the proposed new alcohol management plans announced by Ms Macklin but we will ensure it is not done in the typical Labor bureaucratic way that produces nothing on the ground.
“Ms Macklin cannot pretend to take the high moral ground on alcohol plans when it was her and the Rudd / Gillard / Rudd Government that approved Aboriginal money to bankroll two Alice Springs IGA supermarkets that sell alcohol to Aboriginal people.
“Police have reported three breaches of alcohol licensing requirements at these supermarkets to do with irresponsible service of alcohol to indigenous people.”
The Alice Springs News Online has sought comment from owners of the supermarkets, a group linked to the native title organisation Lhere Artepe.
Says Senator Scullion: “Arguable progress in only three of the six closing the gap targets is not much of a scorecard.
“The results for indigenous education indicators are going backwards – in 2012, 14 out of the 20 NAPLAN indicators the gap has widened compared to 2011. The results in remote and very remote areas are a disgrace.”


  1. #1#When government requires land to provide basic services then resume the land with “just compensation” or obtain at market rates reasonable leases so government money reasonably spent to provide these services.
    IF land or leases not provided, the responsibility rests with these corporate land-owners to use their own monies to provide these basic services.
    #2# On alcohol management plans personally support a three strikes policy – three breaches of alcohol licensing requirements at any licensed venue and their license is canceled.
    Three times in one years cancel needs be mandatory, can leave it to the courts for three times in two or three three years.
    A canceled license may be publicly auction for highest price, if government agrees.
    Such will focus ALL licensed premises on value of their license and their responsible service of alcohol requirements.
    #3# Yes, the NAPLAN results confirm what most already know that results for most students at most schools in remote and very remote areas remain a disgrace.
    Questions remain (a) why, then (b) how will this be fixed ?

  2. Nor can the CLP take the “high moral ground” or accuse others of playing Aboriginal people like a “political football”.
    This is precisely what the NTG is doing by maintaining a seven day per week take-away alcohol policy, appeasing roadhouses, pubs and clubs whose ability to sell alcohol at socially morbid levels is not compromised.
    If they did, they’d have to get creative about employment and education.
    The current Tennant Creek Times contains a story on alcohol-related violence and the view from the bench that it is too prevalent, but the NTG will not budge on supply because it alienates their base support.
    In the face of the alcohol industry’s sponsorship and advertising strategy, mediated by the NTG’s AMT policy, the CLP’s claims to good-governance is humbug.
    Mr Scullion and Ms McFarlane will have to do better than this to earn their lifetime taxpayer funded pensions.

  3. Labor announced $90 million, to come from the ABA for government employee housing. Aboriginal money used to pay for services to Aboriginal people. Yes, that is an appropriate use of ABA funds.

  4. I do NOT support the ALP announced $90 million to come from the ABA for government employee housing, as public services should be met from government budgets.
    Prefer announcement of $90 million from the ABA to build houses on land owned by these ALR(NT) corporate Land Trust estates where individual resident tenants received long term standard leases in their names.
    Why are long term standard leases not given to purported intended beneficiaries of these programs?

  5. OK Paul, I can buy that argument but in that case shouldn’t Aboriginal people be paying for their own houses rather than the Government?
    And if they are not then why shouldn’t they pay (a lot less) to assist funding services for themselves?

  6. The Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) was established by Commonwealth legislation to receive and distribute royalty equivalent monies generated from mining on NT Aboriginal land to be used to the benefit of Aboriginal people.
    Housing is a basic necessity.
    The relevant corporate Land Trusts through their Land Councils were not prepared to provide housing with valid leases for tenants, nor enter agreements with previous NT governments.
    Land Trust refusals to invest and develop their communities, refusals to provide valid leases to their tenants remains their major contribution to failed lives, developments and employment.
    As Land Trusts ignored their responsibilities, it is then appropriate for government to use such money to provide sufficient housing in these communities to be managed by NT Housing.
    Government should ensure all prospective tenants provided two options, ownership of the leases with agreed values and repayment plans, or standard public housing tenancy lease.
    Worthwhile IMHO for government to offer tenants that after a number of years of good tenancy or repayments to be offered a generous rebate discount purchase price so as to encourage tenants to receive transfer ownership their leases and their home as soon as possible.
    The sooner people who wish can own their own homes the better.
    Is up to the Land Trusts and Land Councils to make a better offer!

  7. Do yer homework Tina. The ABA is not “funded by the Australian Taxpayer”.
    The Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NT) requires that mining companies reach agreement about royalties to flow from their operations on Aboriginal inalienable freehold land, to be used for various purposes, including a proportion of 30% to be used for the general benefit of Aboriginal people. The mining companies pay these royalties to the Commonwealth, which must then place them in the Aboriginal Benefits Account.
    The Australian taxpayer ain’t got anything to do with it.
    As the funds have to be spent on things that benefit Aboriginal people, it is entirely appropriate that they be spent on projects that include housing for the NGO health staff and other professionals who are employed to provide key services to the people living on the freehold land.


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