$5b lifeline for north 'ignores SA's plight'


p2295-Phil-Sutherland-2Sir – The Federal Government has emphatically turned its back on South Australia in favour of establishing a $5 billion concessional loan facility to attract new business to the Northern Territory.
In the aftermath of Arrium this week announcing a further 250 job losses at its steelworks at Whyalla and Alinta Energy’s Leigh Creek coal mine shutting yesterday after 80 years, we are outraged at the Federal Government’s “preferential treatment” towards the NT.
South Australia has the worst unemployment rate in Australia, every economic metric you look at indicates our economy is going to get even more parlous, and what does the Federal Government do – establish a $5 billion fund to attract private investment to the Top End.
Concessional loans will be available to finance approved major commercial projects – like airports, ports, roads, rail, energy, and water and communications infrastructure. The loans will be accessible by the Northern Territory, Western Australian and Queensland governments.
[We have] identified a number of key infrastructure projects – including the construction of a new deep water port ($1 billion) on the Eyre Peninsula, the sealing of the Strzelecki Track ($450 million) in SA’s Far North, and tackling the state’s $1 billion road maintenance backlog – that could be undertaken if SA secured a similar funding package from the Turnbull Government.
Federal support for the Territory economy doesn’t start and finish with the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund. In the last Federal Budget, it delivered $10.4 million to improve cattle supply chains, $3.7 million to develop a new infrastructure projects pipeline, and $2.1 million to establish a taskforce to assess ways to reduce insurance premiums in the NT – to list but a few.
“We don’t begrudge the NT of this support, but South Australia should also be getting a serious slice of the action. [We have] a population larger than the Territory, are as large a geographically, are strategically centrally located, and have a fantastic endowment of natural resources.
[We are] absolutely gob-smacked at what is proposed to assist the Top End’s economy when South Australia is bordering on becoming a banana republic
Phil Sutherland (pictured)

CEO, Civil Contractors Federation SA


  1. Right message wrong audience there Phil. Seriously though, “strategically centrally located” is meaningless.
    Northern NT is on the doorstep to Asia and the enormous opportunities that lie within that region.
    Whereas you have a similar relationship with Antarctica. A little less populated though, so not of particular import on a national scale.


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