The Coalition and the Labor party have pledged to provide the Northern Territory with millions of dollars to help it deal with rising crime, employment, and improve health care for Indigenous people.
The remote town saw assaults increasing more than 10 percent between March 1, 2021, and February 28, 2022, while house and commercial break-ins leapt by over 49 percent and 60 percent, respectively.
According to the prime minister, the investment would enhance CCTV, fund local diversionary activities, support community patrols and establish a new Head to Health centre that provides mental health services.
In addition, the Alice Springs Town Council will receive $2 million to renovate the business district and open a new area for youth in the public library.
Labor has said that it would offer a similar crime reduction package to the Coalition.
At the same time, the Coalition promised to invest $300 million to build a new hydrogen hub and multiple carbon capture storage facilities in Darwin to elevate the Territory’s potential as an energy powerhouse.
Morrison emphasised that the projects would bring in around $1.9 billion in total investment and generate over 3,800 jobs.
“We want to harness the territory’s position as a world leader in energy and turbocharge it, unlocking investment and generating more jobs,” the prime minister said.
He also introduced a five percent wage subsidy for trade apprentices for the first 12 months of training to drive up their numbers in the region.
This subsidy is a supplement to the existing support provided via the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System.
“We’ve invested heavily in the future of regional Australia, not just in the infrastructure, not just in the industries that we know are so vital to the future of the Territory, but investing in people, investing in their skills, investing in their safety,” Morrison told reporters.
While also campaigning in Alice Springs on the same day, Labor’s shadow health minister Mark Butler and Senator Penny Wong said the party would give a boost to Indigenous health should it win the election next month.
Butler said the Labor’s support package would allow the Nothern Territory to train 500 Indigenous health workers in kidney disease and rheumatic heart disease programs.
Furthermore, Labor has promised to set aside $15 million to improve water supplies in remote communities, enabling 30 new kidney dialysis units to be established.
At the same time, $12 million would be funnelled into rheumatic heart disease programs, including $1.5 million to buy portable echo-cardio machines and train medical staff to use screening devices.
“Labor will deliver more workers and more services to continue to close the gap in indigenous health,” Butler told reporters.
“The scale of that gap I think is now well understood across our country and today’s announcement particularly focuses on two disease areas of particular concern in this community.”