ABC Darwin

12 May 2017

FRIDAY, 12 MAY 2017

Subjects: Northern Territory missing out in Budget 2017

ADAM STEER: Now Federal Shadow Minister for Finance, what’s your interpretation of that?

JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Well Malcolm Turnbull’s budget is a budget for the top end of town, but not a budget for the top end. What we saw last night in Bill Shorten’s budget reply is that when budgets are about choices, Malcolm Turnbull will always choose the multinationals and the millionaires whereas Bill Shorten will always choose Middle Australia. That’s what made Bill Shorten’s speech last night such a good one.

STEER: Now Scott Morrison said that he had funded plenty of infrastructure projects, there was roads, rails, airports, runways, everything involved and he says that was going to cost enough money.

CHALMERS: Well if only that were true. I mean reality is that the so called infrastructure spend in the budget was largely smoke and mirrors. The Treasurer himself said they were only potential projects, there’s very little in the way of money in the budget for infrastructure and you’ve got to remember as well that we have seen substantial cuts to the infrastructure investment budget over the last four years.

STEER: How much would Labor pitch in for Aboriginal housing in the Territory?

CHALMERS: Well, the first step of course is to not support the cuts to investment in Indigenous communities which the Government has proposed. The Government likes to talk about closing the gap, including on housing, but the reality as usual is very different from the rhetoric. So what Bill Shorten said last night, and Bill’s our Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs – that’s his level of commitment – he said last night that we wouldn’t cop those $500 million in cuts to Indigenous spending.

STEER: Why do you think we’re not getting a truck load of money getting sent up the Territory?

CHALMERS: Well, they don’t care about you up there unfortunately. The Government, as I said before, it’s a Government for the top end of town not the top end. They will always choose the highest income earners in Sydney and Melbourne over the people in the Territory who work and who struggle and who do the right thing. Remember Malcolm Turnbull; wants people living in your community to pay more tax, working people to pay more tax, so that the highest income earners and the big multinationals can pay less tax.

STEER: Now, Scott Morrison has also said that he didn’t really receive any costed submissions from the Northern Territory to do any work in the budget for us.

CHALMERS: Well, Scott Morrison is good at making excuses for ignoring the Territory; he’s not so good at actually investing in the Territory. Now that’s just a bureaucratic excuse that he’s making there and it doesn’t really go to the core of the problem. Now the core of the problem is this is a, you know, a Government for the top end of town in Sydney and Melbourne and not a Government for your community.

STEER: Federal Shadow Minister for Finance Jim Chalmers, thanks for your time.

CHALMERS: Thanks for your time.