Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks with the troops at the Darwin Army base during the Election Campaign. Picture: Adam Taylor
Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks with the troops at the Darwin Army base during the Election Campaign. Picture: Adam Taylor

Morrison accused of ignoring the NT

IT has been five months since Scott Morrison led the Coalition to a surprise election win but his victory lap of the nation has completely bypassed the Northern Territory.

Mr Morrison has visited every state and territory since May 19 - bar the NT.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said he had flown to Cairns and Canberra to meet with Mr Morrison since the federal election, and now it was the prime minister's turn to get on a plane to "hear directly from Territorians".

"Scott Morrison has shown no interest in the Territory since the election," Mr Gunner said. "The Prime Minister should come to the Territory and find out why Territorians want federal investment in the ship-lift, faster Kakadu investment and faster defence infrastructure spending."

Mr Morrison was a notable no-show at the Uluru climb closure at the weekend, choosing instead to attend a netball game in Perth.

It's not the first time he has copped criticism for neglecting the Territory.

He was also accused of ignoring the Territory as treasurer under then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, when he went for almost two years without setting foot in the NT.

Mr Morrison didn't answer direct questions put to him yesterday by the NT News as to the reason for his absence, but in a statement, a spokeswoman for the prime minister said the Coalition Government would continue to "back the NT with record investment in infrastructure, health, education, defence" as well as a $100 million commitment to the Darwin City Deal and a $78.4 million Barkly Regional Deal.

"The Prime Minister met with Chief Minister Gunner just last month and senior Government ministers travel to the NT on a regular basis," she said.

Opposition Leader Gary Higgins said Mr Gunner was a whinger. "Why should the Prime Minister bend over backwards for a Gunner Labor Government who's completely incompetent and incapable of running a government?

"Why should Scott Morrison cancel his nation-building duties for this immature Territory Government which whinges and complains and blames the Federal Government for everything?

"The Chief Minister needs to get on and govern for all Territorians, accept the responsibility for our economic and crime crises, and stop shifting the blame like a petulant child."

NT Cattlemen's Association boss Ashley Manicaros said he was keen to see the Prime Minister in the NT so he could see for himself the issues affecting the industry, but said the lobby group had "good access" to other Coalition ministers post-election including Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie, Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

Mr Manicaros said the NTCA had invited Mr Morrison to the Territory for the group's conference next March. "We would like to get him on the ground, particularly in regional NT so he can see the impacts of the drought," he said.

Labor's Member for Solomon Luke Gosling said it appeared the Developing the North Agenda of the Abbott era was dead.

"It started with great fanfare with the establishment of the NAIF, but since then six years of the Coalition have got us precious little to help us move forward for the good of the Territory and the nation," he said.

"(Mr Morrison) needs to come up to Darwin and explain to Territorians when the infrastructure funding and other promises he made are going to be delivered."