The CPSU has warned that short-sighted cuts to the Australian Electoral Commission in the Northern Territory will have a major impact, particularly in remote and Indigenous communities.
Tuesday's Federal Budget included a decision to substantially cut the size of the AEC's Darwin office.
CPSU NT Regional Secretary Kay Densley said: “The Turnbull Government has once again demonstrated that it's no friend of the Northern Territory. This decision is terrible for democracy in the Territory and for the people whose jobs are now on the chopping block.”
“CPSU members working for the AEC are devastated by this stupid decision and we're seeking urgent clarification on how many of the commission's 10 NT-based staff will be hit by this.”
“The Turnbull Government and AEC management are trying to pretend that they can gut the commission's NT office and somehow that's going to have no impact on Territorians. They're either delusional or dishonest.”
“The AEC's NT presence is critically important, particularly given the role it plays in servicing Indigenous and other regional communities. Encouraging Indigenous enrolment and participation in our democracy is vital in the NT.”
“AEC workers in the NT work tirelessly to ensure every Territorian with a right to vote is able to do so. They engage actively with remote communities and provide invaluable logistical support around ballot draws and in getting ballot papers to locations such as Christmas Island.”
“Running elections in remote and regional areas is difficult and requires extensive planning as well as local knowledge and relationships to get voters enrolled and updated and to organise voting on polling day. This decision just hasn't been thought through.”
“The Turnbull Government is duddling Territorians at every turn. They've stripped $2 billion in GST revenue from the NT over the next four years and hundreds of Commonwealth public sector jobs have already been slashed including the closure of local Tax Office locations. It's not good enough.”