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Northern Territory Mini Budget
In my press release of 5th December, I expressed caution in our consideration of the Mills Government’s Mini Budget. It appears to be a sensible approach to the current debt crises by cutting costs and reducing waste.
Notably absent from the budget papers and media releases were details of how the government planned to deal with the ongoing problems at Power Water. The Chamber is acutely aware of the importance and cost of power to Territory business, especially in light of the proposed increases, yet no clear plan of action has been put forward to deal with what many in the business community see as an aging utility run by a non responsive bureaucracy that seems to deliver less and cost more.
Both political parties have been responsible over the years for the decline in services and subsequent poor standards of existing infrastructure. The Chamber believes it is necessary to conduct a detailed analysis of growth driven power demand for the next twenty years and the associated capital expenditure that this will incur. The questions, of how this expenditure will be met, and will government asset sales be part of that, remain to be answered.
The planned infrastructure spend such as the $35m to construct two rehabilitation centres across the NT will assist to stimulate the building industry.
Despite the Northern Territory being the lowest taxed state or territory, the increase of motor vehicle registrations will impact on businesses across a range of industries (Shires and Town Councils) as well as the transport sector.
The Chamber is pleased to note extra funding for capital works in the regions and more funds for law and order in Alice Springs. Capital Works Program for the Top End Rural Region will benefit under the Mini Budget by $6,900,000 and East Arnhem region has been a big winner with more than $10.9m in Territory and Commonwealth funding to fund a new health centre in Milingimbi and Galiwinku.
Economic growth will be boosted in Palmerston and Litchfield with several capital works projects being announced including the Palmerston Hospital project being retained, however the Litchfield swimming pool has been axed.
The Chamber questions the need to maintain a Government Printing Office.
Edition 20 - April 2012