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Territory Economy At Crossroads Says New Economic Report

Territory Economy At A Crossroad: Says New Report

Master Builders NT’s Chief Executive Ben Carter said the new ‘Over the Horizon Opportunities’ Report commissioned by the Darwin Major Business Group (DMBG), whose membership includes Master Builders NT members, shows that the Territory economy is at a crossroads.

“The construction industry does not succeed without economic growth which is why we are so concerned about what this Report tells us about the performance of the Territory economy right now,” Ben Carter said.

“Private investment has fallen to a severely low level.  Construction firms and other business sectors need investors to be confident about putting their money into the Territory economy and this is clearly not happening,” he said.

“That’s because the Territory’s economic ecosystem is simply not delivering, our engines of growth are not firing,” Ben Carter said.

“The level of private housing construction and home ownership are key indicators of the health of the economy, and both are at historic lows in the Territory,” he said.

“The number of new private sector housing approvals is the lowest in a decade, home ownership rates are bumping along the bottom, the cost of doing business in the Territory is higher than almost anywhere else in Australia. Meanwhile, the danger posed by criminal activity to both people and property is higher per head of population than in comparable regional cities that Darwin competes with for public and private sector investment, and this is undermining attempts to meet our population target,” Ben Carter said.

“Territory builders and tradies know that a strong economy is vital to the viability of their businesses and putting food on the table. That is why our concern is not to attack the performance of individual politicians or political parties. Master Builders NT is about standing up for good policies that will support our member’s business success, not politics and we want to work with the government of the day to ensure that the Territory can realise its potential,” he said.

“Having said that, it is timely that in an election year the DMBG has produced a report that it is 100% evidence based and establishes a concrete reference point marking the performance of the Territory economy that can’t be dismissed by politicians and policy makers on either side of politics,” Ben Carter said.

“It’s not just tradies with dogs and utes who should be worried about a weaker economy. The ability of government to maintain public expenditure and to do more for those who need government assistance is undermined if the revenue that’s delivered by private sector investment declines,” he said.

“That could mean less well-equipped schools and health care facilities, less playgrounds and sporting facilities – the things that Territorians count on and enjoy,” Ben Carter said.

“The findings of the DMBG Report should come as a shock to Territorians but they should not be discouraged or be overwhelmed by the size of the challenges. Master Builders NT’s Billion Dollar Partnership Report highlights the forecast defence investment in the Territory and the DMBG Report showcases the substantial potential for prosperity which the Territory can enjoy if political leaders work with industry to get the policy settings right,” Ben Carter said.