April 03, 2019

Scott Morrison has confirmed in the 2019-20 Budget that the Northern Territory is not a priority.

After six years of the Liberals’ cuts and chaos this Budget was Scott Morrison’s last chance to reverse his cuts to the services Territorians rely on.

The forward estimates are blank when it comes to the Kakadu commitment. It’s not clear from this Budget when funding will be available to finally get work underway in Kakadu National Park.

Labor’s Kakadu commitment is crystal clear.

The 2019 Federal Budget has delivered the Territory another GST cut with a further $75 million reduction of GST revenue. In 2018 the GST revenue to the NT was cut by $136 million. This latest drop in the GST is another devastating blow to the NT that will put more pressure on important frontline services.

There is no plan for wages, no plan to tackle power prices, no plan to address climate change and no plan for the future.

This budget:

  • Fails to reverse the $14 billion cuts to schools and $715 million cuts to hospitals.
  • Fails to reverse cuts to TAFE and apprenticeships – in the past six years, the Liberals have cut $3 billion from TAFE and skills and cut 150,000 apprenticeship places.
  • Promises a surplus that is subsidised by short-changing people with disability through a massive underspend in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Labor does not support the expansion of the Cashless Debit Card in the NT. The $129 million plan is being promoted by the CLP with no evidence to show the Cashless Debit Card improves the lives of people. Labor will take an evidence-based approach to income management policy.

After taking 18 months and two Prime Ministers to get the Darwin City Deal signed, this Budget has allocated a pathetic $2.3 million for the City Deal in the next financial year. The Territory needs investment now.

Budgets are about priorities. And the Northern Territory is not a priority for this Government.

Last night the Government promised an extra $622 million in road funding for the NT, but the Budget documents confirm that only $60 million – or just 9 per cent – will be delivered over the next four years. 

Like everything else, the rest is on the never never.

Budgets are about priorities. And the Northern Territory is not a priority for this Government.