Figures show NT budget better before virus
The Northern Territory's financial position was improving before the coronavirus pandemic inflicted a dramatic drop in government revenue, latest figures show.
Treasurer Nicole Manison released the March quarter financial report on Wednesday, which revealed a budget deficit for the previous nine months of $540 million.
The government said that was lower than originally expected and would have put the Territory on track to meet its full-year budget forecasts.
However, it said the national and global impact of the coronavirus, which had sparked the biggest economic downturn in almost 100 years, would leave the budget position in the June quarter "substantially different".
"The March quarterly financial figures showed the government budget remained on track for the 2019/20 financial year until the COVID-19 global crisis emerged," Ms Manison said.
"In response to the pandemic, the government took swift and decisive action to save lives and to save jobs.
"This has seen us lead the nation in response to COVID-19, and has allowed us to begin reopening before any other place in the country, meaning we will rebound sooner."
The government said the drop in government revenue, as well as funds provided to save both lives and jobs during the crisis, would both impact on the Territory's bottom line.
"The government makes no apologies for doing whatever it takes to protect Territorians during this once-in-a-century crisis," the Labor administration said in a statement.
"We would rather the government take a hit, than a Territory business hit the wall, or a Territory worker hit the dole queue."
The government also announced funding certainty on Wednesday for a number of key services and projects.
This included $11.79 million towards the development of an onshore gas industry, $3.6 million for the ongoing costs of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, and $3.6 million for its bushfire emergency response and to establish the Office of Climate Change.
The next Territory budget is due to be handed down in November this year, delayed because of the coronavirus.
Territorians also go to the polls in August.
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