The Turnbull Government’s deception over Territory infrastructure investment in Budget 2018 has been exposed during Senate Estimates hearings.
Despite CLP Senator Nigel Scullion’s best attempts to pull the wool over Territorian eyes, two days of Estimates have established the Budget did not include one dollar of new money for Territory projects.
Despite being in office for five years, the Federal Coalition still hasn’t initiated one new major project.
And delivery of projects such as the upgrades to the Central Arnhem Road and the Buntine Highway is off on the never-never.
Three out of the four dollars allocated to the NT in the Budget won’t flow to the Territory until the second half of 2022 at the earliest. So not this parliament, not the next one, but the one after that.
The Department of Infrastructure confirmed this during Senate Estimates when they revealed that there is no projected date in sight for the promised works to be undertaken.
This on top of an outstanding underspend in the NT just confirms that Turnbull is for the top end of town and not the Territory.
In their first four Budgets, the Federal Government committed to invest $675 million in the Territory’s infrastructure, they actually invested $451 million – $224 million less than promised – and the underspends are everywhere:
[as a per cent of promised funding]
|Major Road Projects||$305 million||$237 million||$68 million||22 per cent|
|Black Spot Program||$7 million||$3 million||$4 million||59 per cent|
|Bridges Renewal Program||$17 million||$2 million||$15 million||89 per cent|
|HVSPP||$10 million||$9 million||$1 million||15 per cent|
|Beefs Roads Program||$14 million||$1 million||$13 million||91 per cent|
|Northern Australian Roads||$98 million||$15 million||$83 million||85 per cent|
Over the next four years, Federal infrastructure funding in the Northern Territory will plummet by almost 75 per cent from $222 million in 2018-19 to $61 million in 2021-22:
Funding Profile (Northern Territory): 2018-19 to 2021-22
|$222 m||$156 m||$80 m||$61 m|
This Budget is another classic Coalition Government case of overpromising and underspending in the NT.