THE Northern Territory has been let down by the Turnbull Government again, with very little — if any — new spending specifically for the NT in the 2017 Federal Budget.
Outside of qualifying for $472 million in Regional Growth funding from the same pool as other state or territories for infrastructure, there is not much cash for the NT.
Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered his second Budget on Tuesday night saying the Turnbull Government is “choosing to invest in building Australia, rail by rail, runway by runway and road by road”, injecting $5.3 billion over 10 years to the Western Sydney airport, but no new projects for the NT.
He did not mention developing Northern Australia in his Budget speech.
There is no new Defence spending projects earmarked in the Budget for the NT over the next year, nor is there any city funding deal for Darwin or any new cash specifically for Territory-based infrastructure projects not already announced.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner on Tuesday warned Mr Morrison’s second Budget would be a test of the Coalition’s “passion for and belief in Northern Australia” and called for funding on Defence, Closing the Gap and cities.
But on Tuesday night he said the test had been failed.
“The Federal Government has turned its back on us,” he said.
“The Federal Budget has revealed it will be left up to the Territory Government to do the heavy lifting to get our economy back on track.”
Mr Gunner said his invite to the Prime Minister and Treasurer to visit the Northern Territory was still open.
“We will keep fighting for the Territory — trying to get every dollar we can out of the national housing, rail, and infrastructure funding buckets.”
Mr Morrison said his Budget was more focused on returning to surplus than spending.
“(The Budget) does not pretend to do things with money we do not have,” he said.
Territory CLP Senator Nigel Scullion’s office was on Tuesday issuing press releases about Landcare volunteer awards and not cash specifically for the NT.
He declined to speak to the NT News about the Budget on Tuesday night but said in a late press release that the Coalition Government would be growing the indigenous business sector through a $55.7 million national fund.
Federal Labor Solomon MP Luke Gosling said the Budget was a disappointment.
“It’s hard to see where they’re taking an interest in the north and it’s hard to see where having a cabinet minister in Nigel Scullion is assisting the Northern Territory,” he said.
The NT may also qualify for $2.3 billion in asset recycling money along with NSW and the ACT.
Originally published as Bugger all for the NT in Budget