- The budget shows a strong economic recovery and improvements across key fiscal measures
- A fiscal deficit of $1.11 billion is forecast in 2022-23, decreasing to $17 million in 2025-26
- Net debt is projected to rise to $8.71 billion in 2022-23 and peak at $9.4 billion in 2024-25
The 2022-23 Northern Territory Budget delivered on 10 May 2022 by Chief Minister and Treasurer Michael Gunner shows a strong and faster-than-expected economic recovery.
Despite short lockdowns due to the Delta variant of COVID-19, increased consumer confidence has strengthened national economic activity and resulted in significant improvements to all the Territory’s budgeted fiscal aggregates, compared to last year’s forecasts.
Net debt for the non-financial public sector is expected to rise to $8.71 billion in 2022-23, and peak at $9.4 billion in 2024-25, nearly $2 billion less than previously forecast.
A non-financial public sector fiscal balance deficit of $1.11 billion is forecast in 2022-23, decreasing to a modest $17 million in 2025-26. The government hopes to return the budget to surplus in 2026.
The recovery is largely due to revenue rising more quickly than expenses. Total estimated revenue for the non-financial public sector is $7.6 billion in 2022-23 and total expenditure, including net capital investment, is $9.27 billion.
GST, the Territory’s single largest revenue source, is expected to increase by $2.43 billion over the period to 2025-26 compared to the 2021‑22 Budget, primarily due to an increase in the national GST pool from improved economic expectations and the effect of national inflation.
Taxation revenue is expected to increase by a significant $113 million to $658.5 million in 2021‑22, largely due to increased conveyance stamp duty, reflecting growth in residential property median sale prices and transaction volumes. Stronger employment and income growth are also expected to contribute to an increase in payroll tax receipts, reaching $233 million in 2022-23.
From 2022-23, taxation revenue is expected to increase on average by $51 million, growing from $626 million to $660 million by 2025-26.
The budget predicts the economy (gross state product) will grow by 3.7% in 2022-23, largely supported by an increase in private sector investment, with growth forecast to average 2.9% over the forward estimates.
Employment growth is projected to strengthen to 2.3% in 2022-23, with the unemployment rate remaining low at 4.2%.
Inflation is expected to peak in 2021-22 at 5.7%, increasing cost of living pressures, before cooling to an expected 3.1% in 2022-23.
The budget announced new policy commitments to attract new investment, create new jobs and maintain core government services. Major funding was also provided to support the delivery of the government’s infrastructure program.
Key budget announcements
Outlined below are the key budget announcements and an infographic, available in My CA, to help members guide their clients and businesses.
1. Stamp duty exemption
From 1 July 2022, an exemption from stamp duty will apply for individuals who acquire newly developed land from a registered building practitioner on which there is, or will be, a home constructed by the builder. This exemption lasts for five years.
Other revenue policy changes from 1 July 2022 include cessation of the property activation levy, while continuing the obligation to lodge and pay returns for 2021‑22. In 2022-23, indexation of revenue units, penalty units and monetary units will also be adjusted to better reflect policy neutral inflation in the Territory.
2. Stamp duty concession for electric vehicles
From 1 July 2022, a stamp duty concession of up to $1,500 will apply on registration of new and second-hand battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. This concession lasts for five years and includes exemption from the registration component of vehicle registration fees.
3. Home and Business Battery Scheme
The budget provides $2.4 million for the continuation of the Home and Business Battery Scheme. The scheme allows eligible Territory homeowners, businesses and not for profit organisations to access a grant of up to $6,000 to buy and install batteries and inverters. Homeowners that own a business can apply for both their home and business.
4. Transport infrastructure
Transport infrastructure receives a $1.65 billion budget boost in 2022-23 for roads, aerodromes, jetties and barge landings. Substantial investments will be made on the Carpentaria Highway ($142.8 million), the Central Arnhem Road ($120.5 million), Tanami Road ($87.3 million) and the Buntine Highway ($83.1 million).
5. Economic infrastructure
The budget invests $186 million over three years to prepare for economic and population growth by bringing forward land development across the Territory. This includes project funding of $72 million in Darwin, $73 million in Alice Springs, $26 million in Katherine and $15 million in Tennant Creek.
6. Housing and community amenities
The budget provides $897.2 million to build new, and refurbish existing, housing in remote and urban areas, and progress CBD redevelopment works including the Alice Springs CBD revitalization project, and residential land release across the Territory. This includes a record $690 million for remote Aboriginal housing. A further $9.3 million is allocated to construct and upgrade housing for teachers in regional and remote communities and $19.5 million to construct new, and upgrade existing, urban public housing.
7. Tourism and major events
Tourism and events to support the Tourism Comeback Plan and grow visitor spending are allocated $86.4 million in the budget. Priority funding in 2022-23 includes the NT Tourism Industry Strategy 2030, NT Tourism Drive Strategy 2030, NT Cruise Industry Strategy 2022-2025, regional Destination Management Plans, NT Long-Term Business Events Strategy and tourism industry recovery which is allocated $19.1 million.
8. Investment attraction
Substantial and sustained private investment is key to economic recovery and achieving a $40 billion Territory economy by 2030. The budget invests $22.1 million in 2022-23 to continue accelerating investment attraction, and maximise conversion of the existing and potential pipeline of significant projects. The Territory’s reconstruction will also benefit from $8.68 million to support the work of the Infrastructure Commissioner and Infrastructure NT.
9. Electricity reliability and renewable energy
The Territory’s electricity reliability will be improved and renewable energy generation advanced through budget investments of $60 million over six years to progress the undergrounding power project in Darwin to increase resilience to cyclones and other extreme weather events. The budget also includes $7.97 million over four years for the Darwin-Katherine Electricity System Plan to help achieve the Territory’s target of 50% renewable energy generation by 2030 and $5.01 million over four years for accelerated hydrogen industry development.
The government has also used the budget to continue supporting Suncable’s proposed $30 billion Australia-Asia PowerLink project in the Barkly region. The venture is the world’s largest solar farm and battery storage facility and has the potential to provide up to 15% of Singapore’s energy needs by 2027.
10. Telecommunications upgrades
The Territory and Commonwealth governments, Telstra and Developing East Arnhem Limited jointly committed $8 million to upgrade the Arnhem optic fibre backbone, which services all the regional communities from Jabiru to Nhulunbuy. These upgrades will significantly alleviate network congestion and provide the improved broadband needed for the Arnhem Space Centre.
The Chief Minister and Treasurer also used his budget speech to announce his resignation.
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Download the full Northern Territory Budget infographic in My CA.Download infographic
Related reading2022-23 Northern Territory Budget Papers
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