The days of NT public servants enjoying large salaries to compensate for living remotely appear to be over after the release of a budget repair plan that aims to stop the NT going broke.
The Northern Territory government will axe 52 of its highest paid public servants, plus several hundred other full-time positions.
It will freeze the pay of politicians and public sector executives for three years to save $25 million.
Pay increases for the rest of the 21,000-plus public service will be fixed at $1000 a year for the next EBA.
Pay ranges from $217,533 to $391,848 for the NT's 643 public service executive officers, which is understood to be about double Victoria's pay rates and triple those of NSW.
The plans were unveiled on Tuesday in a budget repair report led by former WA under treasurer John Langoulant.
He warned last December that unless changes were made, debt would soar to $35.7 billion with a $2 billion interest bill by 2029 that the NT would not able to service.
NT Treasurer Nicole Manison said the public sector reforms in the Langoulant report were the biggest since the Territory was granted self government in 1978.
"It is fair to say the days of 3-4 per cent wage increases are well and truly over," she told reporters, noting that wages were the government's biggest expense.
Community and Public Sector Union NT secretary Kay Densley said the $1000 offers were below inflation and effectively pay cuts.
"The Government's trying to pretend they're in the same boat as NTPS workers, but hitting the pay of workers on average wages will cause real hardship that's a world away from freezing the pay of a chief minister on over $300,000 a year," she said.
Mr Langoulant recommended cutting public servants' more generous entitlements than the private sector to stop a "distorted dual labour market in the NT" which hurts the economy.
The job cuts are modest and unlikely to involve sackings, with the government not wanting to lose residents due to a need to boost its population.
Most of the report's 76 recommendations were accepted, with some fees going up and departments ordered to cut spending by $11.2 billion over 10 years.
The budget would return to surplus in 2027/28, Ms Manison said.
Net debt would now peak at a far smaller $8.8 billion in 2027-28, the report states.
The Territory economy has been struggling since the Inpex gas construction boom ended, but Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the NT's future was bright with mining, onshore gas and other industries to develop.
Country Liberal Opposition Leader Gary Higgins said Territorians were being punished for government's wasteful spending.
He accused Labor of a "move to tax lifestyle" through new fees on personalised number plates, camping fees, museum entry fees and additional fees on fireworks.
Australian Associated Press