Two minute read: The biggest stories that made news

by | Jul 5, 2020 | News | 0 comments

In case you didn’t know or forgotten on purpose, these are the top stories in the Territory this week: a new case of NT COVID-19; Auditor General’s scathing report on remote housing; NT to lose federal seat; cattle company awarded ban compensation; and V8 Supercars back with limited crowds. These and more…

New COVID-19 case for the NT

Health Minister Natasha Fyles has confirmed a new case of COVID-19, with a man who came from a Melbourne hotspot testing positive in quarantine in Darwin.

The minister fronted a press conference Thursday morning with the news of the first person to test positive in the Northern Territory in 87 days.

She said the man in his 30s who lives in Territory, flew from Pakistan to Melbourne and went into quarantine. Ms Fyles said he then spent time with his family in a hotspot area of Melbourne before he returned to Darwin via Brisbane on Monday and went into quarantine before testing positive on Wednesday night.

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Gunner Government’s ‘Room to Breathe’ remote housing program suffocated by bungles, lack of oversight: AG Report

The Gunner Government’s Room to Breathe remote housing program continues to be plagued by massive failures and departmental ineptitude, a new Auditor General’s report has revealed.

The program has been so poorly administered that the government cannot properly “assess whether its objectives are being achieved economically, efficiently and effectively” and that serious changes are desperately needed if it wants “to effectively deliver the program”, Auditor General Julie Crisp found.

The $200 million 2016 election commitment by the Gunner Government – part of its highly-touted $1.1 billion 10-year remote housing program – aimed to relieve overcrowding in remote communities by renovating existing homes to create more space.

The performance audit by Ms Crisp revealed massive internal problems with the program since its inception in early 2017, including improper procurement practices, lack of oversight, lack of key performance indicators, slow rollout of works, large contract variation costs and unsatisfactory consultations with the remote communities the program was purportedly created to help.

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NT’s voice in Canberra reduced after AEC rules two lower house seats too many

The Northern Territory will have less representation in Canberra following a decision by the Australian Electoral Commission to halve its seats in the House of Representatives from two to one based on ongoing population declines.

The AEC’s decision comes after a bi-partisan appeal launched by the CLP and Labor to save the seat.

But AEC commissioner Tom Rogers said the decision had to be made based on population figures provided by the Commonwealth.

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NT cattle company awarded $2.94 million in damages over 2011 live export ban

Northern Territory family-owned Brett Cattle Company has been awarded nearly $3 million in damages over the Federal Government’s 2011 live export ban to Indonesia, the Federal Court ruled on Monday.

Justice Steven Rares, who earlier this month ruled the Federal Government’s ban was “capricious” and “unreasonable”, awarded the company $2.936 million, plus costs, which will most likely be binding despite a potential legal appeal.

The court also determined on Monday that an additional minimum of 88,000 head of cattle could have been exported to Indonesia if the ban hadn’t been put in place, which is expected to lead to additional damage payouts to other members of the class action lawsuit.

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All 26,000 NT tourism vouchers claimed within hours

If you weren’t on Tourism NT’s website late last night or early this morning, you’ve missed out on the Gunner Government’s $200 tourism vouchers, with all 26,000 vouchers already claimed.

The vouchers, which were created to help stimulate the Territory’s moribund tourism industry during the pandemic, were made available last night at midnight and by 9am on Wednesday, they were all claimed by eager Territorians.

The overwhelming response caused NT Tourism’s website to crash momentarily.

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Supercars to go ahead with crowds in August, tickets limited

Fast and furious action will be back on the Hidden Valley Raceway as the BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown gets the green light to be the first major event in the Top End with spectators since COVID-19.

The Supercars, which is one of the biggest events on the Top End’s dry season calendar, will go ahead with a COVID-19 Safety Plan from August 8 to 9, 2020 with a 4,500 ticket-limit available per day.

It will be the first major event expected to attract interstate visitors after the borders reopen on July 17, which the government says will still proceed despite outbreaks of coronavirus in Victoria.

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