NT govt blamed over power outage

first_imgWith Darwin residents left sweltering during a 12-hour power cut on Wednesday, NT Shadow Minister Kon Vatskalis has come out swinging – accusing the Territory government of failing to uphold basic services.While the NT’s Power and Water Corporation (PWC) has apologised to the tens of thousands of people affected, Mr Vatskalis told Neos Kosmos that an apology from the CLP’s “timid” deputy chief minister Dave Tollner wasn’t enough.“This shows the CLP government is more interested in pushing their public utilities privatisation agenda than in providing essential services to the people of the Territory,” said Mr Vatskalis.“They have proceeded with cost-cutting measures, including a reduction of the maintenance workforce, in order to fatten the PWC bottom line – to make it more attractive to future buyers. Power was finally restored to Darwin on Wednesday afternoon after the outage had caused the closure of schools, public transport, government offices and brought businesses to a standstill.The cut was reportedly caused by a tripped circuit at a sub-station in the city’s east.The Territory government has promised an inquiry into the matter, though Mr Vatskalis – who was Energy minister in the NT’s Labor government from 2003 to 2009 – said that the power cut was an example of how the CLP’s policies were failing Territorians.“They promised to reduce the cost of living, and they increased power and water charges by 25 per cent last year – with another 5 per cent increase this July and 5 per cent more next January.” Mr Vatskalis described the situation as “a total fiasco”.“Gradually the power was restored but it will take a lot more to restore the CLP government credibility,” he said.Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie said the power failure proved the electricity network is not up to the standard the government claims, and has called for businesses affected to be paid compensation.Revelations by the CLP’s Minister for Health, Robyn Lambley, concerning a personal attack by Minister Matt Conlan on fellow CLP member Alison Anderson have deepened the NT government’s woes this month.Ms Lambley revealed that Matt Conlan had verbally abused Anderson during a parliamentary meeting, while Chief Minister Adam Giles and Conlan have refused to comment on the allegation.The Territory government is facing a tricky by-election in the seat of Blain on April 12 after former CLP Chief Minister Terry Mills – who was toppled by Adam Giles whilst on an overseas trip – announced his resignation last month.Mills’ shock exit from the Territory’s political stage after 15 years as the member for Blain – which covers the fast growing town of Palmerston – may see the CLP’s margin of 13 per cent slashed.“It was so sudden he didn’t even tell his own party – resulting in the CLP not having a candidate for two weeks – leaving the Labor candidate Geoff Bahnert to roam the roads of Blain freely and make valuable contact with electors,” said Mr Vatskalis. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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