Sunday Territorian

Investing in better future

- Eva Lawler Eva Lawler is the NT Treasurer as well as the Minister for Infrastruc­ture, Planning and Logistics, Minister for Education and Minister for Territory Developmen­t

On Tuesday, we deliver the 2023 NT budget. No matter who you are or where you live, budget 2023 is about making sure that every Territoria­n can be a part of the opportunit­ies coming our way. Investing in our future. Delivering for all Territoria­ns. Budget 2023 is made for a Territory that will draw its strength from multiple industries in multiple regional and remote places across Northern Australia.

The infrastruc­ture program we will announce on Tuesday is nprecedent­ed — a massive injection to roads and other transport infrastruc­ture, housing in remote and urban areas, and residentia­l land release across the Territory.

From Tanami to Santa Teresa to Ngukurr to Paru, roadworks are hitting the ground in support of communitie­s, pastoralis­ts, tourism and industry — and saving lives.

We’re making record investment­s in education, delivering world class facilities for our children, including $9.7m for a new Science, Technology, Engineerin­g, Arts and Mathematic­s centre at Katherine High School — the fifth STEAM centre we’ve delivered since 2016.

We’re investing $25m on a new 32-bed modular multipurpo­se ward at Royal Darwin Hospital, which will allow for the rapid deployment of additional beds during surges, while increasing overall capacity.

We know Territoria­ns are doing it tough and yet another interest rate hike last week was not good news.

But budget 2023 will not add to that pain.

Every Territoria­n will benefit from our decision to keep our utility bills well below the cost of inflation and well below the increases being experience­d in other jurisdicti­ons.

The Territory increased utility tariffs by only 2.7 per cent in 202223 and will do the same in 2023-24 — far below the level of inflation and the increasing costs of supplying power.

This means real benefits to households and businesses.

We know our frontline workers do it tough.

We’re spending $3m each year to implement the NT Police Wellbeing Strategy, supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the NT Police workforce in all locations.

Too many Territory women and children experience domestic, family and sexual violence.

Budget 2023 delivers $20m across the next two years with a focus on housing initiative­s, perpetrato­r programs, responding to the needs of children and young people who experience domestic, family and sexual violence, providing counsellin­g and healing for women, prosecutio­n and witness support.

We will keep investing in change with improvemen­ts in housing, health, education, infrastruc­ture, training and employment.

Many of the issues we’re seeing in our remote and regional towns require generation­al change — and we cannot afford to ignore the wisdom and knowledge of the bush.

That’s why we’re investing $63m to support the Aboriginal Justice Agreement and enhance youth justice services to break the cycle of reoffendin­g.

We want to rehabilita­te offenders and get them into jobs, training and education — not back in prison.

Budget 2023 will be a fair, rocksolid budget.

It will set the scene for the jobs that are coming in rare earths and critical minerals, in oil and gas, in data centres and subsea fibre links, in large projects such as the Darwin ship lift facility and the Adelaide River Off-stream Water Storage.

This week our government released the Final Implementa­tion Report into the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing.

All 135 recommenda­tions of the 2018 Pepper Inquiry have been implemente­d and this Budget includes $2m per year to ensure ongoing compliance with the Environmen­t Management Plan. The growing onshore gas industry will bring jobs and economic opportunit­ies to our remote regions.

It will also mean further investment in frontline services across the Territory from increased royalty payments.

We’re not slowing down.

That’s why we’re funding $6m over four years to advance the Mineral Developmen­t Taskforce’s recommenda­tions to establish more mines, to value-add with downstream projects at the Middle Arm Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Precinct and to improve our royalty system so Territoria­ns get greater benefits.

Wherever you live, whatever you do for a living, budget 2023 invests in our future and delivers for all Territoria­ns.

We ill keep investing in change with improvemen­ts in housing, health, education, infrastruc­ture, training and employment

 ?? Picture: Glenn Campbell ?? A computer mock up of the winning tender for the planned ship Lift at East Arm.
Picture: Glenn Campbell A computer mock up of the winning tender for the planned ship Lift at East Arm.
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