“Every single job we can support makes a world of difference to individuals, their families and indeed whole communities – as it will also mean more money flowing through local businesses at a time they need it most,” says NT Infrastructure Minister Eva Lawler in a media release.
What she doesn’t say is how much of “an additional $53m to deliver shovel-ready infrastructure projects and urgent road safety upgrades” will go to wages: She did not respond to our email sent at 10.19am yesterday asking that question.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison chimes in saying the spend on NT roads will “play a critical role in the Commonwealth’s JobMaker plan” and help the Territory economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Partnering with state and territory governments to invest in more major infrastructure projects across Australia is a key part of our JobMaker plan to rebuild our economy and create more jobs,” he said in the release.
And Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Transport Michael McCormack said much the same about the Commonwealth ($40.4m) and NT ($12.7m) projects providing “life-saving upgrades along major routes such as the Stuart, Barkly, Carpentaria and Victoria Highways, as well as improving safety around remote intersections and roadhouses”.
Yes, but how many jobs?
The New York magazine said this in a September 2011 report entitled Jobs Per Mile: “The Bottom Line – it’s oversimplifying, certainly, but putting all the numbers together yields this ratio: 1 Mile = 9.2 Jobs.”
And Payscale says the average pay for highway construction workers in Australia is $80,000.
In the NT one kilometre of sealed road costs $1m. In the Boulia Shire, just across the Queensland border, the cost is around $350,000 and the shire builds it.
If we get an answer from Ms Lawler about how the dollar split between “individuals, their families and indeed whole communities” compares with “more money flowing through local businesses” we’ll report it as an update to this report.
UPDATE June 25, 1.30pm
We still don’t have a reply from Ms Lawler.