Northern Territory budget receives mixed reaction from peak industry groups
There's been mixed reactions to the Northern Territory Government’s budget for the upcoming financial year.
The Territory’s net debt is estimated to be $9 billion in the next financial year with a $1.4 billion deficit expected.
On the spending front, it includes $40 million for the ongoing COVID response, $20 million to maintain police numbers and $17 million to grow festivals and major events.
Chamber of Commerce NT CEO Greg Ireland says while finances remain in the red, it’s positive to see forecasts of more revenue.
He welcomed the $1.6 billion investment in infrastructure payments and $120 million allocated to the Local Jobs Fund, which aims to boost the economy and local jobs over the next two years.
“I think it’s critical that the Territory builds infrastructure that enables business activities and encourages private investment, it’s going to be those major projects that can be the real shift in the curve,” Mr Ireland says.
But he’d like to see more incentives to get people into work.
“We’ve really got to see more Indigenous engagement from an economic perspective.”
The Minerals Council's Executive Director Drew Wagner says it’s a good budget for the mining sector with more grants for drilling programs.
“We’re not unexplored but we’re certainly under explored across the vast landscape of the Territory and this will allow us to close some of those gaps to attract that investment in the future and hope for that development,” Mr Wagner says.
But he says it would be great to see more progress on projects already planned in the NT.
“Whether that be through the new commissioners, whether that be through the departments or whether that be in partnership with peak bodies like ourselves, we need to facilitate as much as we can.”
“There’s 19 significant projects on the books right now so even getting a few of those projects up in the short to medium term would have massive opportunities.”
Hospitality and Tourism
Hospitality NT’s CEO Alex Bruce says there was some good news for the hospitality sector in the budget particularly the extension of the Territory Tourism Vouchers.
“We saw the benefit that households got out of that, getting out and about but we also think that will help iron out seasonality and our workforce problems over time,” Mr Bruce says.
“Hopefully more permanent jobs and less casual if we’re not so boom and bust every year in the tourism sector.”
Mr Bruce has also welcomed the commitment of $5 million to attract more interstate visitors, $12 million for the Visitor Experience Program and $4 million in Roadhouse to Recovery grants.
“Really look forward to seeing the business operators down there sink their teeth into that and see what better options we can put on the highways and corridors for locals and tourists to enjoy.”
For more on the NTG Budget visit https://www.mix1049.com.au/news/local-news/104776-nt-budget-still-in-the-red-but-better-than-expected-due-to-extra-gst-revenue
(Photos: Middle - Santos, Above - Hospitality NT)