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Job creation to highlight NT’s budget

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Spending on job-creating infrastructure will feature in the Northern Territory budget, Treasurer Nicole Manison says.

Manison will deliver the Labor government’s third financial blueprint on Tuesday saying it will seek to boost jobs, deliver a safer Territory and drive generational change.

“You need to invest in all three areas to tackle the social challenges we face and economic opportunities in front of us,” Ms Manison said on Monday.

“Budget 19 shows that the government’s plans are working and the economy is starting to turn.

“There are exciting opportunities to generate more jobs and private investment ahead of us.”

But Opposition Leader Gary Higgins said the government had shown it was incapable of fiscal discipline and providing measures to “re-inflate” the economy.

“The Northern Territory is the worst economy in Australia, we are at the bottom, and we will continue to stay at the bottom unless the Labor government does the hard work that’s necessary,” Higgins said.

Tuesday’s budget comes after the release of an independent report prepared to find ways for the government to deal with a looming debt crisis.

Former WA under-treasurer John Langoulant warned that unless changes were made, debt would soar to $35.7 billion with a $2 billion interest bill by 2029 that the NT would not able to service.

Most of Mr Langoulant’s 76 recommendations were accepted, with some fees going up and departments ordered to cut spending by $11.2 billion over 10 years.

More than 50 of the Territory’s highest-paid public servants were axed along with several hundred other full-time positions.

The government further moved to freeze the pay of politicians and public sector executives for three years, to save $25 million.

Pay increases for the rest of the 21,000-plus public service were to be fixed at $1000-a-year for the next EBA.

With AAP.


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