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Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association

MORE FIRE FIGHTING RESOURCES SENT DOWN SOUTH THAN USED TO FIGHT FIRES IN THE TERRITORY

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Press Release

The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association said the outrage being expressed by the Northern Territory Government at volunteer payments was disgraceful given the NT Government spent more money sending firefighters interstate than helping local pastoralists battle fires and drought in the NT.

NTCA chief executive officer Ashley Manicaros said throughout September and October 2019 Territory pastoralists fought fires, in some instances, for more than three straight weeks at their own expense and with little physical government support.

“Pastoralists with available dedicated and committed volunteer firefighters stood should to shoulder fighting fires but they had to source and pay for their own aerial support and on ground equipment support,” Mr Manicaros said

“The NT Government may have spent $6.4m on a new Bushfires NT headquarter but that doesn’t put out fires on the ground.

“Instead pastoralists spent their own money - tens of thousands dollars - engaging aerial support, graders and equipment to fight the fires.

“It is outrageous our Government then goes and criticises the Federal Government when they don’t do anything to support the locals themselves.”

Mr Manicaros said to date the government had also not delivered assistance for drought-affected farmers.

“The NT Government has not provided any assistance and has only signed onto one federal scheme - a water rebate scheme,” he said.

“The NT Government was asked to consider rent relief for drought-affected producers and has said publicly it will - but all we’ve seen is a draft set of administrative protocols in eight months.  

“The NTCA has been pressing the Federal Government on drought and we get asked what is the NT Government doing and we are forced to say nothing - they have no money and have buried their head in the sand on the issue,” Mr Manicaros said. 

“Late last year the NTCA contributed to a 10-point plan the NT Government was putting to the Federal Government but it doesn’t touch on what is directly needed by producers themselves. We put our own plan to the Federal Government months and months before. There just hasn’t been the urgency on this issue.” 

“Cattle producers are not seeking welfare but we don’t expect to see more resources being sent south than are used locally for a picture opportunity and press release.

“It is obvious that pastoralists aren’t a priority sector to this NT Government, but they are tax -paying Territorians too - and expect to see Government responding accordingly.”

ENDS.

 

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