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Northern Territory Treasurer Nicole Manison has walked away empty-handed after asking her federal counterpart Josh Frydenberg for $300 million (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
Northern Territory Treasurer Nicole Manison has walked away empty-handed after asking her federal counterpart Josh Frydenberg for $300 million for a ship lift at their first meeting since the election.
The NT Labor government was bitterly disappointed when the coalition surprisingly won the federal election because they had not matched federal Labor's $300 million funding promise for the project.
The Ship Lift would be a major infrastructure project for Darwin's struggling economy, creating a marine hub for Defence, resources and other industries.
The Gunner government has already committed $100 million but its debt-laden budget would be further strained if it had to pay for the whole project.
"No commitments were made but I certainly left the meeting knowing he's very clear on where our priorities are," Ms Manison told AAP after the meeting in Melbourne.
She has not given up, pointing out the Reserve Bank of Australia has named infrastructure investment as key to stimulating economic activity, and the ship lift is one of a number of great opportunities to do that in the NT.
Ms Manison also urged the "fast-tracking" of promised defence expenditure to boost the NT economy.
In addition, she asked for the retiring of $200 million in legacy debt that the Commonwealth left the Territory with when it achieved self-government in 1978, and was a recommendation of the recent Langoulant report on budget repair.
"I find Treasurer Josh Frydenberg always very constructive to work with and always very keen to hear about opportunities in the Northern Territory," Ms Manison said.
"I put the case to them that I thought there were exciting opportunities ahead with onshore gas and exploration certainly well under way now, also things such as the Darwin LNG backfill project, Project Sea Dragon (prawn farming) as well as activities in the space industry out at East Arnhem Land.
"Time will tell on his actions and about how serious he is about delivering these important projects for the Northern Territory."
© AAP 2019