Budget by Northern Territory’s Labor Government to Flesh Out Recovery Plan

By AAP
May 5, 2019 Updated: May 5, 2019

The left-leaning Labor government of Australia’s Northern Territory will release its budget on Tuesday—a budget that will offer more details on how the territorial government plans to deal with its debt problem.

More of the Northern Territory Labor government’s plans to deal with its looming debt crisis will be detailed this week when it hands down the 2019/20 budget.

The financial blueprint follows the release last month of a budget repair report prepared by former WA under-treasurer John Langoulant.

He warned that unless changes were made, debt would soar to A$35.7 billion with a A$2 billion interest bill by 2029 that the Northern Territory would not able to service.

Most of Langoulant’s 76 recommendations were accepted, with some fees going up and departments ordered to cut spending by A$11.2 billion over 10 years.

What that means for the next financial year will be revealed when Treasurer Nicole Manison hands down the Territory’s latest budget on Tuesday.

Manison has already revealed some measures, with the Territory to axe 52 of its highest paid public servants, plus several hundred other full-time positions.

It will also freeze the pay of politicians and public sector executives for three years to save A$25 million.

Pay increases for the rest of the 21,000-plus public service will be fixed at A$1,000 a year for the next EBA.

Manison said the public sector reforms in the Langoulant report were the biggest since the Territory was granted self-government in 1978.

“It is fair to say the days of 3 to 4 per cent wage increases are well and truly over,” she said.

Further job cuts are possible on Tuesday but unlikely as the government strives to return its finances to surplus by 2027/28.

It has also promised not to slash frontline positions, such as police, nurses and teachers.

Country Liberal Opposition Leader Gary Higgins recently criticised some of the revenue and savings measures arguing Territorians were being punished for the government’s wasteful spending.

He accused Labor of a “move to tax lifestyle” through new fees on personalised number plates, camping fees, museum entry fees and additional fees on fireworks.

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