Saturday, October 31, 2020

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Home Issue 40 Not a lot for Centre in trillion dollar deficit Budget

Not a lot for Centre in trillion dollar deficit Budget

By ERWIN CHLANDA

There is significant additional money in the Budget for roads across the NT but “nothing I can specifically identify for Central Australia,” says Labor Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon (pictured).

He says he could not find any allocation for further sealing of the Outback Way which links Queensland and WA via Alice Springs.

“I will re-look at it, but I haven’t seen it.”

(The Alice Springs News was also unable to find any Outback Way allocation.)

“There is some money for Uluru – Kata Tjuta for upgrading the cultural centre, walking tracks, a viewing platform, upgrading to shelters, water stations,” says Mr Snowdon, but he can’t identify at the moment the total allocated.

“There is around $60m for infrastructure upgrades at Mutitjulu.

“Apart from that there is nothing new in this Budget for Central Australia.

“There is $47m less for the NT general revenue and $89.9m less in GST revenue. That’s money the NT Government won’t have to spend in the Northern Territory.

(Surprisingly, NT Opposition Leader and Shadow Treasurer Lia Finocchiaro says in a media release that there is an increase of $222m in the Territory’s GST payments.) 

“In terms of broader measures the incentive to take on jobseekers under 35 will have some impact in Central Australia, but of course the majority of them are living in remote communities where there are very few job opportunities.

“At the moment there is no Budget increase for Jobseeker beyond December which will mean they are going back to $40 a day.

“Businesses will be able to access tax concessions in the Budget and hopefully that will stimulate some activity in Central Australia.

“There is some money for tourism infrastructure as a COVID measure,” says Mr Snowdon.

“This Budget is raking up a trillion dollars worth of debt. Does it do enough for Central Australia? I don’t think so. I am very worried about the bush, no significant money for Aboriginal health, there is a small amount for Trachoma, eye and ear health – that’s it.”

IMAGE at top: Mutitjulu (AAP photo) and inset: Unsealed section of the Outback Way.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Well, a different angle for stimulus for the NT should be the ABA or Aboriginal Benefits Account, controlled by the Feds for Indigenous use in the NT and am lead to believe it has a reserve of over $1 billon. It has an essential service requirements, such as housing as urgent.
    The ABA should be used immediately and effectively to stimulate the works, economy and create jobs in the regional and remote parts of the NT.
    Housing is a key issue which requires major investment, power, water and road upgrades are all ideas of immediate need.
    Power could be renewable energy of course such as solar and wind.
    Sustainable projects shovel ready projects should also be funded to provide a much needed kick along in farming, cultural tours, walking trails and the likes.
    I would like to hear from Minister Wyatt on how the ABA could be used to to stimulate our economy here in the NT as the urgent needs listed above also provides an income for contractors.
    Sadly, there is no discussion on the ABA to provide stimulus. Why not and why have such a large reserve if not to be used in times like this?

  2. I would have thought something different. If we fix the problems and urgent issues in the bush it might reduce strain in Alice = less money actually to spend on law and order.
    A stimulus is what is required and what better agency than the ABA with the NTG being broke.
    Housing, roads, recreational halls, BMX tracks, water access and treatment to also enable community dialysis, sustainable projects in tourism or horticulture, upgrade and build Community Art Centres which deliver a return.
    Treat the cause of the problem and fix the resourcing issues there, not fight the snakes tail.
    Think more laterally about needs and why such issues are arising in Alice. Lack of $$ for the bush.

  3. @ Pseudo Guru: A nice and fair idea, but it will never happen. IBA is Federal and the anarchy is local, the won’t interfere.
    So we just wait for someone to lose it. Then charge them with self defence.
    Roads won’t bring tourists, like explorers they will manage to get here if they desire.
    People are wondering why tourists were bypassing Alice to go elsewhere.
    Blind Freddy can understand why, so what does that say about the Pollies’ ability to read the writing (history) on the wall?
    People feel the NT is a bit of a safe haven from COVID. Alice Springs is not a safe place from the thugs though.
    Plenty to see and do here, just make it safe for everybody and they will return.

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