NT’s mid-year financial report shows debt continues to rise, but not as fast as expected this year


The territory’s net debt is still on track to surpass the $ 10 billion mark by 2024 and will hit nearly $ 8 billion by the end of this fiscal year, although $ 1 billion less than that. which was budgeted, according to the NT government’s mid-year report. Financial report.

The report also shows that despite forecasts of lower than expected net debt this year, the territory is now at a net debt-to-income ratio of 106%, with that figure expected to rise to 153% by 2024-2025.

The report showed that federal GST payments are better than expected, but political decisions have resulted in increased operating expenses.

The CLP opposition called on Treasurer Michael Gunner to step down “as the worst treasurer in the history of the territory” during Question Time in Parliament on Thursday for allowing the net debt to continue to spiral out of control.

Opposition leader Lia Finocchiaro said in a statement Mr Gunner has shown no commitment to limiting spending, mismanaged the economy and clearly abandoned Langoulant’s budget repair plan.

“Michael Gunner is making this up as he goes, he has no commitment to fix the budget, no commitment to securing the future of our public service and has shown by his actions that he is incapable of managing the economy of the territory, ”she said.

“The Chief Minister, who is also the Treasurer, attempted to generate nearly $ 7 billion in net debt in 2020-21 as a healthy financial position because it is $ 1 billion less than expected. It’s ridiculous. The debt is almost four times higher since Michael Gunner became chief minister.

“In 2019, the Chief Minister ordered a taxpayer-funded ‘budget repair plan’ to help Labor bring its reckless spending under control. Michael Gunner threw this report in the trash.

When Mr. Gunner was elected chief minister five years ago, the net debt was $ 1.7 billion.

Gunner says economy is improving, “the comeback is on”

Mr Gunner did not mention his government’s spending record in his response to calls for his resignation from Parliament, instead suggesting that the economy continues to improve and that “the comeback is underway across the NT” .

“The jobs are there and the jobs will only get better,” he said. “We are working to grow the economy – more jobs in more places across the NT. Not just in Darwin; Alice Springs, Tennant, Katherine, Nhulunbuy and the remotes, the comeback is on.

Mr Gunner added that the CLP is “out of touch” with the needs of private NT companies.

“They don’t talk to businesses anymore, they don’t understand the challenges businesses face in a growing economy. We are working hard to make sure these jobs are filled and that they have homes to live in.

“The unemployment rate is down, jobs are up, wages are up, house prices are up, retail numbers are up, construction is up, there has been a growth of things being built – this is all good news for the Northern Territory, but the PLC cannot see the good news.

GST payments on the rise, but operating expenses also on the rise due to political decisions

The mid-year report was tabled in Parliament this week.

“The 2021-22 mid-year report incorporates new and revised Commonwealth funding, updated GST and own-source revenue estimates, and government decisions made since Budget 2021-22, combined with the transfer effect of the 2020-21 result, ”he said.

The mid-year report found that “overall, policy decisions have increased the budget deficit by $ 175 million over budget and forecast since the 2021-2022 budget and are largely tied to funding. on-going to support the territory’s public health and community safety response to COVID. ‑19, and initiatives to support businesses and combat the social impact of COVID ‑ 19 ”.

The report revised up NT’s tax revenue by $ 32 million this year and also pointed out better-than-expected TPS revenue that “resulted in a $ 173 million balancing adjustment for the revenue territory of NT. Underpaid GST which will be collected in 2021-22, after a stronger-than-expected adjustment of national GST collections in common in 2020-21 ”.

The result is an increase in operating expenses over budget forecasts, including salaries.

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