Disasters strike without regard for the budget plans of governments

THE Northern Territory government has agreed to keep firefighters based at a rural community, in another act of damage control following a poor showing at a by-election.

Chief Minister Terry Mills called on Thursday for full-time fire officers to remain at the Humpty Doo fire station.

He said he wanted a review of the structure of the NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services instead of the Humpty Doo cuts.

Last year he announced the firefighters would be withdrawn as part of the government’s cost-cutting program.

The decision drew an angry reaction from some in Humpty Doo, a rural community about 40km from Darwin, and last weekend Mr Mills met with firefighters at the station .

The backflip was the second in two days, after the government on Wednesday announced a $20 “counter transaction fee” at the Motor Vehicle Registry would be scrapped just months after it was brought in.

Political commentator and former NT Labor MP, Ken Parish, told AAP he thought the move was likely to be damage control after the Country Liberal Party’s (CLP) big loss in the Wanguri by-election.

The by-election on February 16 saw a greater than six per cent swing towards the ALP in what was already a safe Labor seat.

Following the result, NT Attorney General John Elferink began counting votes for a possible leadership challenge to Chief Minister Terry Mills.

The challenge did not go ahead, and Mr Elferink offered his resignation following the move.

This Territorian is happy with this move, however awaits Mr Mills next “money saving” move.

Adam O’Rourke
Darwin, NT