Northern Territory 2010 Budget Overview

Today the Northern Territory Treasurer, Delia Lawrie released the 2010 Budget. It is an expansionary budget with the Government planning to spend $5.1 billion in the next financial year. This will mean the Territory’s current deficit position is now projected to continue to 2015.

The centrepiece announcement is a significant $1.8billion infrastructure program targeted at upgrading and building new schools, hospitals and housing projects. This is a $500million increase from the previous financial year’s spending commitments.

The Government is also committing $437million to be spent in this financial year to improving power and water infrastructure. $331million will be spent on building and improving roads and highways.

Major regulatory changes include tax cuts for first home buyers and fast-tracking land release for housing in Palmerston and industrial land releases in several areas. The Treasurer’s speech is available here.

The key spending items are broken down below:

Power and Water Infrastructure Spending:

  • $1.7 billion over five years, with $437 million for this financial year. Spending is in the following areas:
    • o Channel Island Power Station $137.8 million;
    • o Manton Dam $71.2 million;
    • o Weddell Power Station $67.4 million;
    • o Larrakeyah Outfall closure $65.6 million;
    • o Palmerston pump station, $56.7 million;
    • o Darwin River Dam $35.5 million;
    • o Leanyer zone substation $27.3 million;
    • o Snell Street zone substation $24 million; and
    • o Berrimah Power Station $15 million.
    • o $69 million for Indigenous power, water and sewerage including $6.7 million for water treatment systems in Yuelamu, Kintore and Ali Curung.

Schools Spending:

  • $213 million to build better schools including:
    • o $6.8 million to upgrade the Acacia, Henbury and Nemarluk special schools
    • o $6.4 million to upgrade Alice Springs Middle School at Gillen and establish a Youth Hub at Anzac Hill
    • o $5 million to upgrade Casuarina Senior College
    • o $2 million for Homeland Learning Centres as part of Working Future
    • o $1 million to upgrade Sanderson Middle School.
    • o Some of this spending is part of the $246 million four year Territory Government initiative to upgrade every school over four years, with $6.3 million to upgrade 21 schools.
    • o $5 million is provided to upgrade schools at Elliot, Ntaria, Maningrida and Yirrkala.
    • o $2 million to upgrade homeland learning centres at Maningrida, Ji, Marda and Wudeja, Shepherdson (Galiwin’ku)Mirrngatja, Gunbalanya, Mumeka, Yirrkala, Rurrangala and Biranybirany, and Utopia – Mulga Bore.

Hospital Spending:

  • 147.8 million to upgrade Territory hospitals with:
    • o $43.5 million for new emergency stand by power generation facilities at Royal Darwin Hospital
    • o $19.6 million to upgrade the Alice Springs Hospital Emergency Department
    • o $4.4 million to continue additional secure care facilities in Alice Springs and Royal Darwin Hospitals
    • o $3.8 million for Gove District Hospital staff accommodation
    • o $2.8 million to provide an extra eight dialysis stations in Katherine
    • o $1.7 million to expand renal facilities in Tennant Creek

Housing Spending:

  • $948 million to support public housing, government employee housing and remote housing. Significant parts of this announcement:
    • o $20 million to fast-track headworks at new the Palmerston East suburb of Zuccoli that will deliver up to 550 new homes.
    • o $10 million to fast-track the Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI) site for residential housing in Alice Springs.
    • o $49 million to deliver 150 new homes, including three new seniors villages at Larapinta, Johnston and Malak. This is on top of the 186 new public housing dwellings under the Commonwealth Nation Building and Jobs Plan.
    • o $354 million as part of the $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program to deliver 750 new houses, 230 rebuilds and 2,500 refurbishments over five years, jointly funded by the Territory and Commonwealth
    • o $28 million to construct 34 new and upgrade 60 existing government employee houses in remote areas, with the Commonwealth Government contributing $7.8 million for additional teacher housing.

NT Economic Overview

  • Economic growth moderated to 2.6 per cent in real terms in 2008-09, compared to an average annual growth rate of 5.1 per cent over the previous five years.
  • In real terms, economic growth in the Territory is estimated to have moderated to 0.4 per cent in 2009-10, due to lower construction activity as several major projects such as the Eni Blacktip project and the GEMCO manganese refinery expansion are completed.
  • In real terms, Territory economic growth is forecast to strengthen to 3.6 per cent in 2010-11, driven by higher mineral and energy exports as the world economy continues to strengthen and production capacity in the Territory continues to increase.
Economic Measures (ABS, Sensis, Nov 2009 Qtr) NT Australia
Gross state product (2008-09) 2.6% 1.1%
Tourist accommodation takings (2009) 3.7% -3.4%
Employment growth (2009) 5.2% 0.3%
Trend unemployment rate (Dec 09) 3.4% 5.5%
Labour force participation rate (Dec 09) 74.1% 65.2%
Retail trade turnover (2009) 5.9% 3.1%
Business confidence, next 12 months (net balance) 69.0% 52.0%
Building approvals (2009) 43.0% -1.9%