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‘Win-win’ lease scheme sees commercial sector add $150m to NT economy

By Zarah Torazzo
12 July 2022 | 1 minute read
Katherine NT aerial reb

A total of $150 million has been pumped into the Northern Territory’s economy, thanks to a three-year stimulus program that aimed to encourage commercial property owners to upgrade their buildings. 

The Leased Property Stimulus Scheme ended its run with 32 approved projects that generated $76 million in direct private-sector spending, the state’s government reported. 

On top of this, an additional $65 to $80 million in indirect economic activity such as job creation was also driven by the program. 

Launched in 2019, the scheme invited building owners with existing Northern Territory government leases to do capital works on their commercial properties in return for lease extensions. 

Under the program, commercial property owners were required to use local contractors and suppliers when undertaking improvements on their buildings — a measure that was aimed to support small to medium businesses and tradies while stimulating the economy. 

Throughout its three-year run, the scheme generated local jobs and supported businesses throughout the territory, with projects under the program spanning across Darwin, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine, according to the state government. 

The scheme was originally designed to run for two years, but the positive and strong response from building owners has led to the government extending the program through to 2022.

Minister for Corporate and Digital Development Ngaree Ah Kit stated that the program exemplified the ongoing strategic collaboration between the public and the private sector in finding new ways to boost the state’s economy.

“This is another example of how the territory Labor government has been working with the private sector on innovative ways to keep our economy strong and to support local businesses and local jobs, especially as we negotiate our way out of the economic challenges of the past two years,” she stated. 

The official added that the program has helped to bring back life to the city’s infrastructure landscape while helping the government reach its net zero emissions target.  

“We’ve seen buildings across the territory, including in regional centres, reinvigorated in ways that have made them more energy-efficient and in many cases changing the look and feel of the buildings by adding public areas with welcoming environments, such as the inclusion of shaded areas with public art or cafes,” she said.

Capital works undertaken under the program include installing new lifts, upgrading bathrooms and kitchens, adding disabled toilets and revitalising public areas with new amenities and structures. 

Leased buildings under the scheme were also required to undertake “green” capital works and renovations, including the addition of solar power and the installation of more energy-efficient equipment in commercial buildings. 

Ms Ah Kit highlighted that the scheme was beneficial to all involved parties. 

“By extending our government leases we’ve also provided a win-win scenario by providing certainty to these building owners who have accepted the challenge to recapitalise their buildings and provide work for our tradies and other local businesses along the way,” she stated. 

Manuel Liveris of the Darwin-based GRC Properties concurred with Ms Ah Kit’s statement, lauding the government’s “successful initiative”. 

“By simply providing certainty to property owners, the NT government has spurred significant capital investment across the territory resulting in improved amenities to workers and visitors that use our activity centres,” he stated. 

‘Win-win’ lease scheme sees commercial sector add $150m to NT economy
Katherine NT aerial reb
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