Government and community services


Economic contribution | Contribution to employment | Explanatory notes

Economic contribution

The combined government and community services industry contributed $6.0 billion to the Northern Territory’s (NT’s) gross state product (GSP) in 2016‑17, representing an increase of 1.8%, from $5.9 billion in 2015‑16. This accounted for 23.1% of the NT’s GSP, which was the third highest proportion across the jurisdictions behind the Australian Capital Territory (42.3%) and Tasmania (24.9%) (Chart 1). The industry’s share of GSP in the NT has decreased over the financial year, although remains above the 10-year average of 22.9%. Of the industries, public administration and safety services made the largest contribution of 12.0% or $3.1 billion to GSP, representing an increase of 1.3% from 2015-16. Furthermore, the public administration and safety sector was the NT’s largest industry in 2016-17.

In comparison, the value of the national combined industry increased by 3.1% to $294 billion in 2016‑17, accounting for 16.8% of national gross domestic product (GDP), with the health care and social assistance sector making the largest contribution (6.8%) ,

Contribution to employment

In 2016-17, there were an estimated 52,084 Territorians employed in the government and community services industry, representing an increase of 1.5% compared to the previous year. This was a result of employment increases in the health care social assistance (up 6.8% to 17,004 people) and education and training (up 13.0% to 12,910 people) sectors. In contrast, the public administration and safety services sector decreased by 7.4% to 22,170 people,

The government and community services sector is a significant source of employment in the NT, accounting for 37.7% of the total resident workforce in the year. This was the largest combined employing industry in the NT, with public administration and safety and health care social assistance, being the two single largest employing sectors in 2016-17. In comparison, the national government and community services sector accounted for 27.5% or 3,326,246 people of the total national workforce, with the health care and social assistance sector being the largest contributor to employment (12.9%).

Since then, more recent data on employment shows that 52,276 Territorians were employed in government and community services combined industry in 2017-18 (increase of 0.4%). Of these, 35.6% were employed in public administration and safety, 40.3% in health care and social assistance, and 24.1% in education and training. The government and community services industry continues to be a significant source of employment in the NT, accounting for 38.0% of employment in 2017-18, slightly above the 10‑year annual average of 36.4%.

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. However this proportion has dropped in the last two years, overtaken by employment in the health care and social assistance, partly related to the opening of the new Palmerston Regional Hospital (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 (27.6%).

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.