NT Territory Government debt 2019

NY; we see on TV and on Facebook that the NT Government has no money. Many Yolngu just do not understand what is happening. This is confusing many Yolngu as it seems impossible that a government can run out of money.

NT government is facing a deficit of $4.5 Billion at the end of the financial year and $35.7 billion by 2029-30.

NY; Where does the NT government get it money from, is it business?

$76 Mil comes from workers paying tax PAYG. Some form property tax. A Tax on gambling makes them 51 Mil. Vehicle registration $51 Mil. But the big amount comes from GST tax and that has been cut back by the Federal government.

Biggest problem is the cut in GST payments to the NT. NT was receiving nearly $5 per 1 dollar collected on GST in the NT. And WA was only receiving .38 cents per 1 dollar collected on GST in WA. It was OK when the WA government had lots of mining income but then there was a drop-in mining royalties and WA went into debt. So, the federal government had to hold back some of the GST coming to the NT and pay it to WA so the NT received about 300 mil short. Plus, the big Inpex Gas Plant finished being build and they cut back their workers from 4000 workers to 400. That was another thing that has caused big problem for the ALP government.

NY; this is a new subject for us. We get our money every week, go to the store and buy things but we do not know that the tax is being cut to go back to government.

NY; can the government go anywhere else for the money they need.

Yes they get loans off a bank or someone else. But that leaves them with a bit of a problem where the have to repay the loan and the interest. The interest for the NT could be as much as 1 million dollars a day.

NY; what is the meaning of this, what does this mean?

Work through what a loan is and what interest is as there is little knowledge amongst Yolngu as to how loan work. A lot of Yolngu are getting into trouble now taking out loans and being left with no money to live on. Loans are another thing that are seen as easy money so we have to talk about the legal side of how the loan and the interest has to be paid. So we talk about how if someone wants a loan for a car or houses. Explain that the bank is makes/grows it money. We use the same way that Yolngu used to breed seagulls where they would collect eggs form their nests but always leave three in each nest so the gulls could reproduce in numbers. In the same way the banks make money on their money by charging interest (mapu eggs) on their money.


There are 4 Stories in this podcast. Please see time stamps below:

  • NT Government Debt – 00:00
  • A cut in NT GST tax from the Federal Government – 08:23
  • Can the Government get its money from somewhere else. Lone money – 17:14
  • Repaying loans & interest. NT Government 1 mil interest per day – 24:54