Government and community services


The Northern Territory's (NT) government and community services combined sector is a major contributor to the gross state product and employment. The government and community services category comprises of public administration and safety, education and training, and health care and social assistance. The outputs from these sectors are mostly supplied and/or funded by the public sector, including Commonwealth, NT and local governments. They also include output from private providers of education, health, aged care and other community services as well as contributions made by the defence industry in the NT.

Infographic showing value of NT industry Infographic showing GSP Infographic showing persons employed Infographic show percentage of NT workforce


Economic contribution | Contribution to employment | Explanatory notes

Economic contribution

The combined government and community services industry contributed $6.1 billion to the Northern Territory’s (NT’s) gross state product (GSP) in 2017‑18, representing an increase of 2.4%, from the previous year. This sector accounted for 23.0% of the NT’s GSP, which was the third highest proportion across the jurisdictions behind the Australian Capital Territory (42.6%) and Tasmania (23.1%) (Chart 1). The industry’s share of GSP in the NT has slightly decreased over the financial year, although is in line with the 10-year average. Of the industries, public administration and safety services made the largest contribution of 12.0% or $3.2 billion to GSP, representing an increase of 0.7% from 2016-17.

In comparison, the value of the national combined industry increased by 3.2% to $304.6 billion in 2017‑18, accounting for 16.7% of national gross domestic product (GDP), with the health care and social assistance sector making up the largest contribution.

Contribution to employment

In 2018-19, 51,611 Territorians were employed in government and community services combined industry (decrease of 0.9%). Of these, 40.8% were employed in public administration and safety, 37.3% in health care and social assistance, and 21.9% in education and training.

The government and community services industry continues to be a significant source of employment in the NT, accounting for 39.0% of total employment in 2018-19, above the 10‑year annual average of 36.8%.  The share of total employment in government and community services has remained relatively stable over the past 10 years, although there was an increase in 2013-14 as a result of an increase in public administration and safety  (Chart 2). Nationally, the combined government and community services industry’s proportion has trended upwards since the early 2000s, however, its share to total employment remains less than the NT share (27.9%).

Explanatory notes

Government and community services is a major contributor of GSP and employment in the NT. The government and community services category comprises public administration and safety, education and training, and health care and social assistance. The outputs from these sectors are predominantly supplied and or funded by the public sector, including Commonwealth, NT and local governments. This industry also includes output from private providers of education, health, aged care and other community services as well as contributions made by the defence industry, which is discussed further in the Defence webpage.