Budget fails to create wealth, unlock investment: Higgins


p2239-Gary-Higgins-2LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – We need targeted government spending to create jobs and generate revenue – not million-dollar-a-day interest bills on borrowings.
The Gunner Labor Government’s record deficit, record debt Budget [raises the point that] taxpayer funded infrastructure projects miss the mark.
What the Labor Party is proposing is not wealth-creating infrastructure which will help unlock private investment and private industry.
This is spending for spending’s sake, without business cases, without determining the project’s viability and without a plan.
It is the Field of Dreams approach to infrastructure spending – build it and they will come.
The Treasurer announces the figures with pride as if bigger is better, but surely planned, researched or thought-through project identification and expenditure would be even better still.
That spending is targeted on building uneconomic infrastructure – in fact, spending which is likely to be a drag on the Budget after construction, not that which grows the economy.
Countless questions remain around government announcements.
What does $50m get Territorians for the Old Hospital site? How much of an underground car park will the $20m get? How many degrees lower will the temperature be? Will the temperature be lowered in other parts of the city, or just in the Supreme Court carpark?
Will the new museum have a car-park?”
The only way for the Territory to grow is to allow private enterprise to invest and by diversifying the economy. Cutting the infrastructure grants, cutting funding to regional tourist associations is not the way to grow the number of tourists.
Improving our tourism infrastructure is what is needed. Visitors come to the Territory looking for a product, something to engage in, something special that they can’t do elsewhere.
New roads will increase opportunities for tourism, for our beef and mango exports, and more importantly connect Territorians.
For too long we have accepted substandard infrastructure in the regions as part and parcel of living out bush.
We shouldn’t, and there are potential innovations, ideas and potential businesses, waiting to be unlocked when we connect Territorians with each other, and we connect those isolated places and communities with the rest of us.
We need infrastructure that leaves the Territory wealthier and more productive after it is built.
Unfortunately, the Budget just announced is the absolute worst possible budget for this time.
Gary Higgins
Opposition Leader


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