37. NT Territory Government debt 2019

Nikunu Yunupingu and Richard Trudgen discuss what government debt means.

Nikunu says many Yolngu see via the media that the NT Government has no money, but this is very confusing. It seems impossible that a government can run out of money. He asks where the NT government gets its money from.

Richard shares the financial figures and that yes, the NT government is facing a deficit of $4.5 Billion at the end of the financial year and $35.7 billion by 2029-30.

They discuss the government revenue that comes places such as workers paying tax PAYG, some forms of property tax, gambling tax, and vehicle registrations. They also look at the recent loss in revenue when the GST tax was cut back by the Federal government due to changes that occurred in WA. They talk about how the government is able to loan money that they need from the bank, however that leaves them having to repay huge amounts in interest – up to a million dollars a day. They discuss what this means for Yolngu.

Richard and Nikunu then explore what a loan is, and what interest is, as many Yolngu have little knowledge of these financial concepts.  A lot of Yolngu are getting into trouble now taking out loans and being left with no money to live on. Loans are often seen as easy money so the legal side of loans and interest is discussed and that interest is a way of banks making 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. Loan money – 17:14
  • Repaying loans & interest. NT Government 1 million in interest per day – 24:54