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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3146

Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (09:30): I rise again to raise the unresolved issue of the 396 RAAF base houses in Eaton in Darwin. I have spoken on this issue many times in this place and I will continue to do so until this issue is resolved. Many of my constituents are concerned about the rumours that Defence will knock down 100 Defence houses in Eaton so that DHA can replace them with 100 DHA owned homes. This is absolutely ridiculous. There is another way, and that way was suggested in the motion that I tabled and that was passed in June last year. Why is it that the Labor government continues to ignore the wishes of the people and the wishes of the parliament?

The government has done nothing in the last two years. Prior to the election, it was Labor's position to knock down those houses, despite the assurances from Minister Snowdon, a fellow Territorian. He said that the houses are safe. I suggest that with these rumours the houses are not safe. They are still planning to knock them down despite all the assurances given to me and the people of Darwin that this would not happen. It simply astounds me and other Territorians, including the Save Eaton Group, that 200 taxpayer funded houses can sit there and remain vacant in Eaton, rotting away in the Top End. The excuse of the houses not meeting Defence standards is wearing thin in my community. We believe that while these houses may not be to Defence standards they are definitely to community standards and they should be made available to Territorians. This is another example of why Territorians cannot trust Labor.

If the Territory Henderson Labor government cared about Territorians, it would be fighting alongside me to make these houses available to Territory people. It would stand up to the Gillard Labor government, join forces with me and say, 'Let's make these houses available to Territorians.' The Country Liberals support these RAAF base houses being made available to Territorians. Country Liberal leader Terry Mills, along with member for Fong Lim and former member for Solomon Dave Tollner and my other Country Liberal colleagues, supports my continued fight to make these houses available to Territorians.

Labor's waste and mismanagement of these taxpayer funded assets has put added pressure on the basic living costs of Territorians, which shows how out of touch Labor is. Julia Gillard and Labor claim that they care about working families yet they ignore the opportunity to use a significant portion of the Defence houses at Eaton to address the critical shortage faced by many Territorians. Unlike Labor, the coalition cares about families in the Territory, which is why we will continue to work hard with local residents and the Save Eaton Group to fight for what is best for Territorians, which is to make these houses available. A coalition federal government working with a Country Liberal Territory government would give Territorians hope, rewards and opportunities and make these houses available.