Territorians in regional and remote locations are being let down by the Northern Territory Government and its agencies, with pastoralists now required to move their entire fleet of vehicles hundreds of kilometers across the NT to the closest Motor Vehicle Registration office, or fly MVR inspectors to remote properties, to be able to renew vehicle registrations.
“Bush services are suffering through a lack of commitment from the Northern Territory Government,” Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) chief executive officer Ashley Manicaros said.
This week the NTCA has been advised police will no longer be completing light and medium registrations for vehicles and will only complete driver registrations and renewal if police operations allow it.
“This is an unacceptable position to leave a $1.2 billion industry in,” Mr Manicaros said. “These services are crucial for Territorians in regional and remote locations. We’ve written to the NT Government with serious concerns regarding the withdrawal of these types of services which leaves millions of dollars of equipment and productivity stranded, often for months at a time.
“In one instance, relayed to NT Police Minister Nicole Manison, $40 000 in registrations could not be completed, forcing a pastoralist to stand down the entire fleet of vehicles. Given the remote locations some of our cattlemen operate in, it is impractical, sometimes impossible and not sustainable to get an entire fleet of trucks, vehicles and plant equipment to the closest MVR for inspection.”
Mr Manicaros said in another situation a pastoral property owner was forced to fly to Tennant Creek to collect an MVR inspector, fly them back to the property to conduct vehicle inspections, and then flew them back to Tennant – all at the pastoralist’s expense.
“Coupled with the erratic opening hours of the Tennant Creek MVR where pastoralists have driven into Tennant only to discover it was shut, the commitment to bush services and services in regional Northern Territory is severely lacking,” the NTCA CEO said. “It isn’t good enough.”
Mr Manicaros said in the past police had generally included these types of duties as part of their regular patrols – a service that also fostered community relationships.
“But there is clearly a battle of resourcing going on and now the pastoralists and those who live and work in the bush are caught in a dispute triangle between police, MVR and the fifth floor of government,” Mr Manicaros said.
“NTCA members support police in the bush and many members went out of their way to express to their local officers that support following the events in Central Australia,” he said. “But what we now need to see is the government backing the police and crucial bush services by ensuring that all agencies fulfill their roles no matter where a Territorian is located.”
Mr Manicaros said the extra cost of having to travel to or pay for the services to come to remote locations was the last thing needed during the current dry climatic conditions.
Chief Executive Officer