NT’s plummeting GST pool ‘biggest blow’ in grim budget reveal



THE blow to the NT's GST revenue from coronavirus will be far worse than the conservative $500 million estimated by economists, the government's mini-budget will reveal today.

The NT News can reveal the largest whack to the NT's budget will come from the GST wipe-out, followed by the cost and forgone revenue of coronavirus job-saving measures such as the three-part Small Business Survival Fund and Home Improvement Scheme.

However, the NT Government will try to sweeten the blow with an extra $10 million to run two more rounds of the popular Territory Tourism Voucher Scheme to support the sector through the low season.


Chief Minister Michael Gunner will today reveal the Territory’s economic and fiscal outlook. Picture: Glenn Campbell
Chief Minister Michael Gunner will today reveal the Territory’s economic and fiscal outlook. Picture: Glenn Campbell


The damage to the NT's bottom line from the pandemic will be "broadly in line" with the damage done to the Federal Budget, which Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last week revealed had suffered its biggest blow since World War II.

Australia chalked up a deficit of $86 billion in 2019/20 alone, and that is expected to rise to $184.5 billion in 2020/21.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner will tell Territorians that the government, which is expected to far exceed the $6.2 billion in estimated debt for 2019/20, can "afford to take the hit right now" as opposed to workers losing jobs or thousands losing their lives.


The long-awaited economic and fiscal update will also reveal the NT's coronavirus "worst-case scenario" modelling, showing the direct health cost of coronavirus infecting the Territory would have been $200 million before counting the broader economic cost.

According to this modelling, 5400 Territorians could have ended up in hospital and 92,000 been infected.

Mr Gunner will say that without the government's stimulus measures, an extra 6700 Territorians would be jobless on top of the 9000 or so people who lost their jobs from March to June.

Grattan Institute chief executive Danielle Wood last week estimated that, based on the hit to the nation's GST takings, the NT would have lost an estimated $505 million in GST over two financial years.

It is believed the NT Government will reveal this to be conservative.

The NT Government will spend an extra $10 million on tourism vouchers, to deliver up to 80,000 of vouchers to Territorians over three rounds of the stimulus.

The first round was snapped up in less than 10 hours.

The next round will begin in November and the third round in February 2021.

Originally published as NT's plummeting GST pool 'biggest blow' in grim budget reveal