Editorial: The NT’s dire debt crisis gets even deeper
JUST when you think the Territory’s deepening debt black hole could not get any darker, it has. The blow to the NT’s GST revenue from the coronavirus is much worse than the breathtaking $500m estimate put forward by economists, and the road ahead to recovery is going to be long. The blow to the NT’s GST revenue from the coronavirus is much worse than the breathtaking $500m estimate put forward by economists.
While COVID-19 has caused damaging consequences to the global economy, it is not to be blamed for the current Territory economic crisis. COVID-19 has only added to the magnitude of the problem the Territory was already facing. There is not one peak industry or business group in the Territory that will tell you otherwise. For the past two years, well before COVID-19, the Territory has had the worst-performing economy in the nation, consistently last on almost every economic indicator. Housing prices have crashed, the number of jobless has steadily grown and our population is falling, which started the GST cuts in the first place.
Make no mistake about it, the road ahead to recovery is going to be long and as the Chamber of Commerce NT has pointed out, there will be more and more business casualties. The magnitude of the task ahead is the very reason the community needs to pay close attention to the policies being put to us to guide the Territory through the very critical four years ahead. All this makes the job of the NT Economic Reconstruction Commission so much more important. It also shines a light on the next NT government’s need to implement the recommendations put to it. Time and time again we have seen reports, commissions formed and frameworks established.
In today’s NT News the NT Property Council says what the business groups ask, and need, is that the Commission and the government takes seriously what industry and business is saying. We can’t afford to wait another four years of a political cycle. Ideas only have value if there is the supporting policy framework to make them a reality. So very true.