7 keys priorities dominate the Northern Territory’s 2008-09 Budget, being:
- Growing the economy and cutting taxes
- Supporting families and children
- Implementing initiatives under Closing the Gap
- Providing quality education and health services
- Investing in infrastructure;
- Supporting the Territory lifestyle and protecting the environment.
The Budget also provides tax savings for Territorians including:
- Reductions to conveyance stamp duty;
- Increase in the stamp duty concession threshold for first home buyers to $385,000;
- Further reduction in the payroll tax rate to 5.9 per cent, down from 6.2 per cent; and
- The lowest recurrent taxes for small to medium businesses in Australia.
Health and Families
A record $915 million has been allocated to deliver better health services including:
- $395 million for additional hospital beds;
- $54.5 million for public health services;
- $60.4 million for support services for frail aged people and people with a disability;
- $35.2 million for mental health services;
- $2.5 million to deliver improved renal health services;
- $3.7 million to continue implementing recommendations of the Northern Territory Disability Services Review, in partnership with the Commonwealth.
The Families and Communities budget includes:
- $124.3 million for community health services delivered through community care centres, rural health centres and services from clinics, schools and in the home;
- $3.7 million to subsidise child care costs.
$719 million for the Department of Employment, Education and Training including;
- $24.5 million for preschool education;
- $284 million for primary education;
- $99.4 million for middle years education;
- $91.5 million for senior years education;
- $103.6 million to produced assistance to non-government schools;
- $1.9 million for the Back to School payment, to assist Territory parents and students with schooling costs;
- $17.7 million for Closing the Gap education initiatives to improve Indigenous education outcomes. Funding includes extra teachers, upgrades to remote schools, new mobile pre-schools, and attendance team and a campaign on the value of schooling;
- $88.9 million to develop a highly skilled workforce that meets industry needs,
Capital investment for infrastructure projects is a record $870 million including:
- $271 million for road projects;
- $26 million for school infrastructure upgrades;
- $12.2 million to enhance health infrastructure;
- $30 million for lifestyle enhancement infrastructure;
- $59.5 million for projects to improve bulk ship loading productivity and environmental outcomes at the Territory’s port, including:
- $35 million for a bulk materials conveyor
- $24.5 million for reclamation at East Arm Wharf and expansion of the hardstand area.
- $6 million for rebates, renewable energy industry support and skill development in Indigenous communities, road houses, pastoral and rural properties, as well as the Alice Springs Solar City Project;
- $10.8 million to deliver clean energy to remote indigenous communities.
$247 million for Police, Fire and Emergency Services including:
- over 1200 polices officers, Aboriginal police officers and police auxiliaries;
- $5.16 million in 08-09 (the first part of $13.06 million) to expand and upgrade the police digital radio network;
- $1.54 million for community patrol services and continued night patrol services in the Darwin areas.
In an attempt to implement measures to break the offending cycle and improve offenders’ reintegration into the community, the Government will invest:
- $274 million to construct a new 1000 bed correctional facility in Darwin;
- $23.6 million to increase capacity at the existing Darwin and Alice Springs Correctional Centres;
- $1.76 million is provided in grants for pre-court programs and case management services to divert juveniles from the justice system.
Closing the Gap
The Government has committed $286 million over 5 years to the Territory’s 20 year plan to advance Indigenous Territorians’ life outcomes. The 2008-09 Budget will deliver $57.6 million as part of the program including:
- An expanded range of measures to address child sex abuse including $5.9 million for the Child Abuse Taskforce;
- An additional $100 million over two years for primary health services in remote areas;
- $38.6 million to improve law and order, including $2.3 million to increase the number of police across the Territory as part of its Remote Policing Strategy;
- $70.6 million in education, focussing on early education, community ownership of education services and the integration of health and wellbeing initiatives with education.
- $1.2 million to provide support for peak business-related organisations through the Industry Development Support Program ;
- $0.3 million for industry development grants;
- $4.5 million for development of industrial land for strategic industry development
Sport and Recreation
$25.8 milllion for sport and recreation, including:
- $2 million to upgrade sports facilities;
- $5.3 million in arts grants.
$35.7 million for tourism including:
- Funding for marketing programs, including a global Red Centre Way campaign, “Australia the Movie” campaign and online marketing.
- $5.5 million for Bringing Forward Discovery, to promote mining exploration and investment
- $2.4 million over three years for Government-industry partnerships to increase exploration in the Territory