‘I’m not gonna be campaigning’: Gunner says crime not an issue ahead of election, won’t be ‘politicking’

by | Jul 27, 2020 | News, NT Politics | 1 comment

Chief Minister Michael Gunner says crime is not a big election issue for Territorians and that he’s more focused on “saving lives and jobs” to campaign in the lead up to the August 22 election.

Mr Gunner appeared on Mix 104.9 Monday morning to discuss a variety of issues including his government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fragile state of the NT’s economy.

“I would have thought at the start of the year, you know, jobs, the environment, law and order, to easily be the three dominant issues,” he said. “But for the last four and a half months, the only thing people are essentially talking to me about is the border policy or small business survival fund or the hardship register or how our healthcare workers are going or just coronavirus.

“I would never say that law and order isn’t important, but just in terms of the issues that people are raising with me, that’s the reality of where we’re at.”

It was unclear what people Mr Gunner was referring to, after he later stated that he doesn’t have time to campaign this election.

“I’ll keep working up to August 22,” he said. “It’s not gonna be a normal election for me, I’m not gonna be doing normal campaigning or politicking. I’ve got to keep chairing (NT health authority meetings) and I’m gonna keep attending national cabinet.”

Most of the interview centred around the Northern Territory economy, with Mr Gunner insisting that potential projects his government has flagged for the past few years are getting closer to happening, which would create jobs.

“If you look at the infrastructure program you have to keep creating new jobs because as one project ends those jobs are gone, and you need to grow into a new job,” he said. “Same really in tourism, once you got one holiday  package gone, you got to have the next holiday package delivered to you to keep you have to keep creating jobs to be able to save jobs.”

Mr Gunner said there were “exciting” mine projects on the horizon, as well as Project Sea Dragon, the proposed sun cable solar farm and the proposed space centre in Northeast Arnhem Land.

“All the things that we’ve been able to do, working with the private sector because the NT Government can’t do the heavy lifting all the time,” he said. “We have obviously been through essentially a stimulus phase in the Territory. Because of the nature of the economy post-Inpex, and the coronavirus puts us back there in many ways, but we are working with the private sector to deliver huge projects.

“I’m truly confident about where we’re going, the green shoots we’re hitting at the start of this year.”

But Mr Gunner also said the financial update scheduled to be released Wednesday would be “very painful”, but gave no other details.

Mr Gunner said Labor would be releasing its election policies in the coming days.

“There’s a lot of policy out there but also sometimes it’s hard to, it gets tied, like everyone’s discussing corona(virus) with me,” he said.

NT Labor has not publicly released any election policies to date.

Mr Gunner said he could not attend a Mix 104.9 leaders’ debate on August 10, when early voting starts, and would rather debate the other party leaders on August 20 – two days before Territorians head to the polls and potentially after thousands have already voted in early polls.

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