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New minister must negotiate with the Territories.

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The Hon Warren Snowdon MP Labor Member for Lingiari Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Northern Australia Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Reconciliation

29 September 2003

New minister must negotiate with the Territories


The sacked Territories Minister, Wilson Tuckey, was a failure who had precipitated an economic crisis on Christmas and the Cocos (Keeling), Warren Snowdon said today. The member for Lingiari called on the new minister, Senator Ian Campbell, to guarantee to consult and negotiate with the people of Australia’s Indian Ocean territories while addressing the problems left by his predecessor. “Thank God Tuckey’s gone,” Mr Snowdon said. “It is difficult to imagine someone doing a worse job than he has done in representing the people of Christmas and Cocos Islands over the past 18 months.” Mr Snowdon said the Prime Minister’s appraisal of Mr Tuckey — that he had “been responsible for promoting regional growth and development more generally, including the Indian Ocean territories” — was a deep insult to Christmas Island businesses, which were experiencing significant economic fallout as a result of cancelled Government projects. In February last year, Mr Tuckey had encouraged local businesses to invest to prepare for the construction of a major immigration-processing centre on the island. But a year later, the tender for the centre’s construction was terminated and the Government announced that it would re-tender for a scaled-down facility. “This delay, together with Tuckey’s failure to tell the islanders what was happening, left local businesses on the brink of collapse,” Mr Snowdon said. “The people of the Cocos Islands, too, have been frustrated by his indecision and his failure to follow through promises made about other infrastructure developments. “The new minister needs to guarantee that he will learn from the failures of his predecessor and consult fully with the people of Australia’s Indian Ocean territories. “They need to be negotiated with on all government decisions that affect them, including whether or not the islands will continue to have an Administrator and, if so, who that person should be.” Ends. DARWIN Phone: (08) 8942 3830 Fax: (08) 8942 3834 ALICE SPRINGS Phone: (08) 8952 9696 Fax: (08) 8952 5922 CANBERRA Phone: (02) 6277 4520 Fax: (02) 6277 8480 Contact: Markus Mannheim: 0428 280 114