A balance of business and services
Northern Territory Treasurer Syd Stirling’s Budget 2006 promises continuing tax cuts for business, an investment of $482 million in infrastructure and an increase in funding to the health, education and police services portfolios. It is expected the Territory will continue to experience strong levels of growth in 2006-07.
Cutting business taxes will make the Territory the lowest taxing jurisdiction in Australian for businesses with less than 100 staff. The payroll tax-free threshold will be raised $1.25 million. Stamp duties for the granting and renewal of leases and franchises and the duty on unquoted marketable securities will be abolished from 1 July 2006.
Health and Community Services receive $788.6m, including $343m for hospitals, $465.1m for Acute Services, $122m for Community Health Services, $65.7m for Aged and Disability Services and $32m for Mental Health Services.
$630.7m goes to Employment, Education and Training, including $84m for employment and training programs, $37m for Charles Darwin University and $8.1m for employing 100 teachers above formula.
Police, Fire and Emergency Services will receive $212m including $32m to provide additional police numbers and resources. The Office of Crime Prevention receives $3m and the Juvenile Diversion Program $1.7m.
Tourism, a major industry in the Northern Territory, receives $38.3m - an additional $10m - including $27.6m for tourism marketing and $1m for the NT Convention Bureau. In addition, the budget for sporting, recreation and major events includes $27m on Territory Parks, $6.8m for the Thoroughbred Racing Industry, $6m for sporting grants, $2.3m to run the Arafura Games and $1.05m for V8 Supercars. $1m over three years is allocated to buy back fishing licences supporting recreational fishing. For the continued development of the Environmental Protection Agency $3.1m has been allocated.
Development of the mining industry will be supported by $6.9m to assist in the provision of geological information to promote prospecting and $3.8m for compliance with legislation.
In terms of infrastructure investment a total expenditure of $482m is expected for 2006-07 plus an additional $100m on Darwin Waterfront and Convention Centre. The Power and Water Corporation will invest $87.1m in capital works and $39.8m in repairs and maintenance.
This infrastructure spending includes:
- Roads and highways - $135m
- Darwin Waterfront and Convention Centre - $100m
- Schools - $67.5m
- Chanel Island Power Station - $25m
- Desert People’s Centre in Alice Springs - $8.6m
- Repairs and maintenance across health facilities - $8.6m
- Minor new works on housing - $6.7m