Joint Media Release
Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie
Senator the Hon Jacinta Nampijinpa Price
19 September 2022
RISK OF NT BECOMING THE BIGGEST LOSER IN LABOR FEDERAL BUDGET
Hundreds of millions in funding for projects that were ear-marked specifically for the Northern Territory are at risk in Labor’s upcoming Federal Budget, the Opposition has warned.
Key projects facing an uncertain future include a swathe of community and major roads and infrastructure projects that will underpin the future economy of the Northern Territory, according to the Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development, Senator Bridget McKenzie.
“The future prosperity of Australia is in part determined by the future prosperity of the Northern Territory, and now is not the time to be walking away from important infrastructure investments that will secure that economic future,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The Northern Territory was also a battleground at the recent federal election, but the new Labor Government is giving every indication of crab-walking away or at least scaling back important and already committed to infrastructure projects, including the Middle Arm development, tourism road funding for the sealing of the Outback Way, and projects from Round 5 of the BBRF (Building Better Regions Fund) for Foodbank Domestic & International Disaster Logistics Center, and the construction of SWELL (Swimming, Wellness, Events, Leisure, Lifestyle), projects that are designed to benefit local communities,” Senator McKenzie said.
NT Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price also warned Treasurer Jim Chalmers against targeting the Territory for Budget savings.
“What these multi-million-dollar projects mean for the Northern Territory is not just jobs, but it means safer roads, reduced cost of business and living, increased opportunities and connecting the Territory to the rest of Australia,” Senator Nampijinpa Price said.
“Labor needs to realise there is more to Australia than just the inner cities.
“We, the Northern Territory, have so much to contribute to our Nation but we need these crucial pieces of building blocks to make that happen.”
Senator McKenzie said substantial infrastructure investment had been provided for in the last Budget.
“The previous Government, through our Energy Security and Regional Development Plan, set aside $2.6 billion for projects in the Northern Territory including $200 million immediate enabling transport infrastructure to support the development of the Middle Arm,” Senator McKenzie said.
“In our last Budget we committed $361 million to NT projects which was expected to support more than 1,000 jobs over the lifetimes of the projects.”
Senator McKenzie said infrastructure investment is a crucial government lever to grow the resources and tourism industries which were so vital to the Northern Territory, and any decision to cut that investment will be keenly felt.