Kakadu National Park may have to wait another term of government before funding is rolled out. (AAP: Tara Ravens)
New money for remote roads, a weather radar and a medical facility are among the Federal Budget announcements for the Northern Territory, but the roll-out for a $216 million mega-upgrade to Kakadu National Park remains unclear.
- The Budget allocated funding to regional areas including Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and the Tiwi Islands
- The NT Treasurer criticised the lack of clarity involving spending on Kakadu National Park
- The NT Cattlemen’s Association applauded the reinstatement of the Tennant Creek radar station
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s inaugural Budget featured boosts for remote parts of the NT, including $60 million for roads on the Tiwi Islands, $15 million for a new weather radar in Tennant Creek and $25.7 million for an outpatient centre at the Alice Springs Hospital.
Funding for upgrades promised earlier in 2019 to help revamp Kakadu is listed, with the work slated to be undertaken by 2029, but there is no specific timeframe on how much would be spent each year over the forward estimates.
“The Government will provide up to $216.2 million from 2018-19 to 2028-29 to secure tourism and jobs in Kakadu National Park and support the future of the Jabiru Township,” the budget papers said.
The NT’s Treasurer Nicole Manison criticised the lack of clarity.
“It is disappointing … this is a missed opportunity and the funding is needed now,” she said.
A spokesman for Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price said the “money for (Kakadu) projects will roll out from this financial year. Unequivocally”.
Darwin to gain $32 million over next term
Darwin was promised $100 million for the so-called ‘city deal’ upgrade, which includes an education and civic precinct, of which $32.3 million will be rolled out during the next four years.
Ms Manison said this was “but a trickle” of the amount pledged by the Morrison Government over the longer term.
In addition, NT treasury officials said the Territory would receive $75 million less in GST revenue in the next financial year than predicted in the mid-year update last November.
“The Morrison Government have shown in tonight’s budget that they don’t understand how much of an impact their GST cuts have on the Territory,” Ms Manison said.
|Income||Tax cut from 2018-19||Tax cut from 2022-23||Tax cut from 2024-25|
|$30,000||$255 per year||$255 per year||$255 per year|
|$60,000||$1,080 per year||$1,080 per year||$1,455 per year|
|$90,000||$1,215 per year||$1,215 per year||$2,340 per year|
|$120,000||$315 per year||$2,565 per year||$4,440 per year|
|$150,000||$135 per year||$2,565 per year||$6,540 per year|
|$180,000||$135 per year||$2,565 per year||$8,640 per year|
Cyclone Trevor influenced radar call
Tennant Creek’s old weather station was shut down amid community fury in 2015.
Tuesday’s Budget reverses the decision, with the Federal Government saying it had “listened to community concerns about the need for real time weather information during Cyclone Trevor last month”.
“The ferocity of Tropical Cyclone Trevor and the associated rainfall and flooding impacts which arose when the system moved through the Barkly region recently only underscored the value of additional coverage,” said Senator Bridget McKenzie.
“Access to the weather and water information available through the new radar can help mitigate the impact of floods by allowing farmers to move livestock or mobile infrastructure to higher ground in advance of floodwaters.”
The money includes “a co‑contribution of $2.5 million from the Northern Territory Government; and $7.6 million for community infrastructure projects already funded through the Building Better Regions Fund,” the budget papers said.
Tennant Creek’s Mike Nash had to check his own rain gauge to ascertain rainfall during Cyclone Trevor. (ABC News: Katrina Beavan)
NT Cattlemen’s Association chief executive Ashley Manicaros said reinstating the weather radar would help provide the Barkly pastoral region with vital information.
“Cyclone Trevor demonstrated quite clearly, particularly when it looked like there was going to be large rainfall in that Tennant Creek area, that when you went to that BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) radar site you actually couldn’t bring it up — the nearest radar zone to Tennant Creek was actually Alice Springs,” Mr Manicaros said.
The Barkly region will also pick up an additional $30 million under a “regional deal” announced by the Federal Government, to be rolled out over 10 years.
Tiwi roads to help wet season angst
On top of $492 million the Coalition had already promised for Territory roads over 10 years, $60 million was announced for upgrades of roads on the Tiwi Islands.
Tiwi Islands Regional Council chief executive Marion Scrymgour, who is also the incoming Northern Land Council chief executive, said residents have been waiting a long time for roads to be upgraded.
“Hearing it I was just absolutely elated, just like most people on the Tiwi Islands. We’ve had very little funding put into roads to recovery and fixing up our connector roads,” Ms Scrymgour said.
During the wet season the roads caused problems for police, health services and economic development on the islands, she said.
“The minute the rain falls over here and we get quite a lot of rain the road network goes out.”