Treasurer’s blame game is getting tired

11 June 2019

The Territory’s Treasurer is still denying there is a problem with the Territory economy, and continues to blame everyone else for the Territory’s dire financial position.

During Day One of Estimates 2019, the Treasurer showed no contrition or shame in delivering the worst budget in the Territory’s history and continued to demonstrate the Gunner Labor Government had no intention of being open and transparent about the Territory’s finances. Of major concern is she couldn’t answer a number of questions put to her in relation to the increase in net debt of $2 billion.

Opposition Leader Gary Higgins said the Treasurer had handed down three record $1 billion+ deficits, which empirically and objectively, makes her the worst Treasurer the Territory has ever had.

"She’s incorrectly blamed a new accounting standard for the Territory’s increase in net debt of $2 billion and was unable to say where an additional $1.3 billion in net debt came from," he said.

"The accounting standard accounts for only $870 million.

"She was dismissive of concerns raised on specific topics and again played the blame game without once admitting any responsibility for the financial mess we’re in."

When asked to explain the Government’s much touted Buy Local campaign, the Treasurer brushed the query aside and segued into her usual haze of arrogant spin and blame, putting the Opposition’s questions on notice as she couldn’t answer.

"The Government goes on about the importance of buying local, but the Treasurer’s own department used only two Territory businesses out of seven opportunities when it came to using consultants," Mr Higgins said.

"This Gunner Labor Government is out-of-control. When it comes to denial, I think they’ve said it so much, they actually believe their own propaganda."

Earlier in the day when questioning the Speaker, it was confirmed that the Government was yet to put forward a cost benefit analysis or operational plan for the underground car park.



Some examples of Labor’s loose with the truth approach – Labor can’t be trusted


Labor LIES 


On coming to government, the CLP handed us a budget that was almost $900 million in deficit…

Source: Treasurer’s Budget Speech, 7/5/2019  

This is Labor spin. As at 30 June 2016, the budget deficit was $78 million

Source: 2015-16 Treasurer’s Annual Financial Report

A cut of $500 million in annual GST revenue from the Federal Government

Source: Chief Minister media release, 15/4/2019

And we have had to deal with the Federal Government GST reductions of more than $500 million each and every year…

Source: Treasurer’s Budget Speech, 7/5/2019  

There has been a net reduction of $102.4 million or about $25 million reduction per year NOT $500 million per year claimed by Labor

Source: Commonwealth Grants Commission update report

While there has been a reduction of GST payments of $263 million over the forward estimates, the Commonwealth has "topped up" the GST by $785 million over the forward estimates. In net terms, the Territory is over $500 million better off thanks to the Commonwealth's investment.

Source: NT Budget 2019 Papers

Mr Gunner maintained that his Government fulfilled its pre-election promise to cut 26 executive-level positions.

Source: ABC Online news story, 15/4/2019


Executive Contract Officers in Administration in the Northern Territory Public Service increased by 19 (479 in Jun 2017 to 498 in Jun 2018)

Source: OCPE State of the Service Report 2017-2018

Nicole Manison: "We are going to introduce more voluntary redundancy packages in the public sector.

"We're going to look at about 100 jobs this year and about another 50 into the forward estimates each year, bringing it up to a total of about 250 jobs there."

Source: ABC Online news story, 20/4/2018


Average December Quarter 2017: 21,008

Average December Quarter 2018: 21,477

Yearly change Dec 17 to Dec 18: +469

Source: OCPE Northern Territory Public Sector Staffing (Full Time Equivalent) – December Quarter 2018

This work will build on the budget repair measures undertaken by the Territory Labor Government since 2017, including $800 million in saving measures

Source: Treasurer media release, 12/12/2018


Total expenses from continuing operations: 2015/16: $5,971,443,000

2017/18: $6,322,101,000 - an increase of $478 million

Source: Treasurer’s Annual Financial Report 2016/17

Authorised by J. Riley, Country Liberals (Northern Territory), 2/229 McMillans Road, Jingili NT 0810