Article – Big week of budget announcements for NT21 April 2015
10 April 2015
The Northern Territory government has made six budget announcements this week, including funding for a new special-needs school, more police and a boost to tourism.
The Country Liberals’ third budget will be unveiled on April 28.
Treasurer Dave Tollner has already flagged that it will be “responsible and frugal” but with a “significant” infrastructure spend.
A $31.5 million new school with places for 120 middle and senior students with special needs was announced on Thursday.
It generated some controversy when it was revealed winning tenderer Halikos was the CLP’s biggest financial donor, with a bid of $4 million more than an interstate developer.
“The best-value bid may not always be the lowest cost bid,” Mr Tollner told the ABC on Friday.
This week the government also announced $8.7 million to recruit a 38 police officers, which it says will help it meet its 2012 election promise to fund an additional 120 officers.
This is a year later than the original promise to have the officers on the ground within two years of winning government in August 2012.
Chief Minister Adam Giles has also announced a $4.75 million tourism infrastructure development fund focusing on boosting regional, remote and indigenous tourism.
This is a key part of the government’s plan to buffer the NT economy from an expected drop-off once the $35 billion INPEX LNG project ends next year.
Another $4.45 million has been earmarked for motorsports events and infrastructure upgrades in central Australia.
Mr Giles recently reinstated the indigenous affairs portfolio after scrapping it two years ago, and has announced $2.5 million over five years to help introduce an indigenous employment strategy, starting with $500,000 for the next year.
The NT public service employs almost 20,000 people, and Mr Giles has set a target of 16 per cent indigenous employment by 2020.
The government also announced on Friday a commitment of $3 million a year on an ongoing basis for mental health support and to implement a plan to reduce suicide.
Courtesy of the AAP