8 August 2019
Today’s re-announcement of a Ship Lift project in Darwin raises more questions about the Gunner Labor Government’s handling of the major project.
The Ship Lift and Paspaley partnership was announced in 2016 and again in 2017, but was a CLP initiative from 2015.
Opposition Leader Gary Higgins said the Chief Minister’s re-announcement was an unfunded pre-election commitment where construction wouldn’t start until after the 2020 election.
"Exactly who is paying for it and when? What contracts have been pursued and how? And what are the details around the so-called ‘land swap’ the Chief Minister mentioned in the media today?" Mr Higgins said.
"What has the Chief Minister and his cohort given to Paspaley in order to effectively own the ship lift once it is built? What ongoing taxpayer expenditure is required to support the operation of the ship lift?
"The Gunner Labor Government has priors in being dodgy with the facts and they have managed to plunge the Territory into the worst economic situation it’s ever been in. We’re also deep into a crime crisis, and now they’re making a re-announcement as a distraction from the reality of our dire situation.
"The ship lift will cost in excess of $400 million.
"The Territory certainly can’t afford to foot the bill in its entirety and NAIF have not completed their assessment of the project’s commercial viability.
"Will the Gunner Labor Government come clean with the details or will they fumble the ball again? We hope, for Territorians’ sake, their clumsy handling of this won’t endanger the project."