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Budget 2021: Leading the Comeback

Office of the Chief Minister

The Territory Labor Government today delivered the 2021 Budget. The Budget focuses on leading the economic comeback – by capitalising on the Territory’s reputation through the COVID-19 pandemic, building on the gains we’ve made, and grabbing the opportunities of the future.

Budget 2021 is about maximising the Territory’s potential in every way we can – for more investment, more people and more jobs.

Budget 2021:

  • extends the Territory’s world-leading public health response to the pandemic;
  • invests in population and industry planning for future growth;
  • invests in job-creating projects with the Local Jobs Fund, advanced manufacturing and minerals exploration;
  • backs in our critical tourism and hospitality sectors;
  • locks in long-term funding for police and community safety initiatives;
  • keeps investing in infrastructure and housing across the Territory; and
  • continues our disciplined Budget repair agenda.

To keep the Territory the safest place in Australia from the coronavirus, Budget 2021 invests $40 million to continue our COVID-19 public health response. This includes:

  • $20 million in additional funding for this financial year to maintain our public health response – in our hospitals, in our testing clinics, and in our quarantine facilities;
  • $5 million to fund the immediate logistical costs of delivering the vaccine; and
  • $15 million in interim funding for the public health response in the next financial year.

To prepare the Territory for future growth, Budget 2021 invests an additional $15 million over five years in planning works – including work on new land releases – and establishing a new strategic infrastructure body. The Government has also appointed Team Territory Co-chair Dick Guit to help streamline and simplify the land development process so it keeps pace with Territorians’ needs.

To help spark new investment in existing and emerging industries, Budget 2021 injects $120 million over two years into the Local Jobs Fund. The Fund partners with investors through concessional loans and co-investment equity  – to expand our growth base, add value to our economy, and create more local jobs.

Recognising the tourism industry’s critical role in leading the Territory’s economic recovery, Budget 2021 delivers the Territory Tourism Comeback Plan – a package of measures to support and grow our tourism and hospitality industries. These include:

  • $10 million for new tourism incentives for the next low season – including new Territory tourism vouchers;
  • $12 million to extend the successful Visitor Experience Enhancement Program for a further four years;
  • $4 million for another round of Roadhouse to Recovery grants;
  • $17 million to support and grow some of the Territory’s biggest festivals and major events;
  • continued support for our parks and Aboriginal rangers.

Budget 2021 also continues the Government’s work for a safer Territory – including an investment of $20 million every year to sustain the Territory’s current police officer numbers.

And the Budget continues the Government’s unprecedented investment in job-creating infrastructure, with $1.6 billion in total infrastructure payments – 60 per cent of which is allocated to remote and regional areas. 

The Budget shows that the Territory’s economy is recovering better than expected, and is estimated to grow by 4.7 per cent this financial year. The growth forecasts for each year in the Budget are stronger than previously projected.

While the Budget did not escape the national impact of the coronavirus crisis, the fiscal position is also recovering stronger than anticipated. The 2021-22 Budget forecasts a fiscal balance deficit of $1.35 billion – an improvement to the bottom line of more than $900 million over two years. Net debt for 2021-22 is estimated to be $9 billion – an improvement of more than $1 billion compared to the last Budget.

The Territory’s Budget position has improved as a result of stronger own-source taxation and revenue, higher GST collections, and the effect of long-term savings measures.

To continue our Budget repair reforms, Budget 2021 introduces a legislated debt ceiling, as well new accountability measures for Agency Chief Executives, to help control public sector spending. The Government’s Budget discipline means operating expenses are forecast to fall in every year across the forward estimates.

For more information on Budget 2021, visit


Quotes from the Chief Minister and Treasurer, Michael Gunner:

"The Northern Territory is Australia’s comeback capital, and this Budget is all about leading that comeback.

“We are taking the same energy and urgency we used to win the health crisis, and applying it to our economic comeback.

“After some difficult years, we are coming out the other side and getting stronger by the day.

“We are heading in the right direction, but we can’t take our strong recovery for granted.

“Budget 2021 is about continuing our hard work to deliver on the Territory’s potential – with new people, new industries and new jobs.

“The Territory’s comeback has only just begun.”

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