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.
In 2017-18, 52,035 Territorians were employed in government and community services combined industry (increase of 0.4%). Of these, 35.8% were employed in public administration and safety, 40.2% in health care and social assistance, and 24.0% in education and training.
The government and community services industry continues to be a significant source of employment in the NT, accounting for 37.9% of total employment in 2017-18, slightly below 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 in 2018 (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%).
Since then, recent data reports that employment in the NT government and community services sector has declined by 1.7 per cent to 52,120 persons in the year to November 2018. This currently represents 38.2 per cent of the total resident workforce, remaining the Territory’s largest employing industry. Nationally, the sector’s workforce decreased by 2.7% per cent over the same period.
The Territory’s decline in the combined industry was a result of an employment contraction in the education and training sector (down 13.8 per cent). However, the health care and social assistance and the public administration and safety industries increased by 4.1 and 0.9 per cent respectively, in the year to November 2018.
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.