NT lifts fees, charges, cuts public jobs

27/04/2020 Posted by admin

NT Treasurer Nicole Manison says the Territory budget is in difficult spot with a $3.4bln GST cut.The Northern Territory government has become the latest Australian jurisdiction to anger the powerful mining lobby by announcing plans to increase income from resources royalties.

The plans were part of various actions including spending and job cuts and fee hikes aimed at repairing the NT’s budget, which will be announced next month.

More than 200 public service jobs will go over two years through voluntary redundancies, there will be a hiring freeze and cuts to pay rises while fees and charges including motor vehicle registrations will rise.

“We know that the territory budget is in an incredibly difficult position given the $3.4 billion in GST we’ve seen taken out of the budget,” Treasurer Nicole Manison said on Friday.

A hybrid royalty scheme will replace the existing 20 per cent profits-based one to ensure all operating mines in the NT pay a minimum royalty for the value of minerals they extract.

Among those affected would be global giant Glencore’s McArthur River zinc mine.

“What that’s going to mean is that once those minerals are in production that the Territory will start getting a royalty for that, at the moment that is not the case,” Ms Manison said.

“Those resources are non-renewable once they are gone, they are gone forever so we’re ensuring that the Territory gets a royalty for that.”

New stamp duty charges will also be imposed for petroleum leases.

The Gunner Labor government removed its ban on fracking this week, paving the way for the controversial practice to be used to unlock the NT’s vast reserves of onshore gas.

The royalties plan was criticised by Minerals Council of Australia NT executive director Drew Wagner as “still a very long way from a realistic policy proposal” and would put future investment and jobs at risk.

He said it would damage the NT’s attractiveness to industry “with nearly $5 billion of investment at stake and potential massive growth of the resources sector and jobs”.

Opposition leader Gary Higgins said the Labor government’s action threatened exploration and mining projects worth billions of dollars in the NT.

“Instead, the government should be looking at the seemingly ongoing swell of executive level positions and irresponsible spending,” he said.

Australian Associated Press

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