Northern food bowl has economic and humanitarian benefits

by 28 December 2012

A report released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade last week echoes what ANDEV has been saying for over two years. Titled Feeding the Future, the report focuses on the need for Australia to lift agricultural production and development across the North.

Australia currently produces enough food to feed 60 million people, but could feed up to 120 million if parts of Northern Australia were opened up to large scale irrigated agriculture, making [...]

North Australia Digest – 21/12/2012

by 21 December 2012

The Australian

Metallurgical Corporation of China is putting a $3 billion iron ore project in Western Australia on hold and will pull its staff out of Perth by the end of next month – effectively closing its Australian office – as soaring costs and delays have led to low performance at the project. Zhang Jiabin, an analyst at, said MCC had “been hit persistently by high labour and development costs”. A number of [...]

North Australia Digest – 19/12/2012

by 19 December 2012

The Australian

A “high-level advisory report” to Australia’s energy and resources ministers warns that restrictions on shipping uranium could hinder the country from becoming a major supplier of the resource. Although Australia has the world’s largest uranium stocks, it is producing and exporting well below its potential as capital and operating costs rise more rapidly than elsewhere in the world. “Duplicative and unnecessary environmental assessment processes, restrictions on accessing ports to ship uranium and [...]

North Australia Digest – 18/12/2012

by 18 December 2012

The Australian

Iron ore prices have risen to a five-month high as China’s leadership change gives confidence to a rebound in demand for the commodity. On Friday, benchmark iron ore prices at Chinese ports jumped to $US129.30, their highest price since July. Prices are still below the $US150-a-tonne averages that were seen last year. The rise is only expected to be medium-term as new supply from Australia continues to come onto the market [...]

Speech – Townsville Launch “North Australia and then some” – John Roskam

by 18 December 2012

Good evening and what a pleasure it is to be introduced by Senator Macdonald, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Northern and Remote Australia and Secretary for the Defence Force and Defence Support.

I would also like to acknowledge the presence this evening of Mrs Rosemary Menkens MP, the Member for Burdekin, and Mr John Hathaway MP, the Member for Townsville.

It is an honour to be in Townsville to launch Northern Australia and then some by [...]

North Australia Digest – 17/12/2012

by 17 December 2012

The Australian

The results of the upcoming election in Japan could have major implications for Australia’s uranium sector. The Liberal Democratic party – who, according to recent polls, are likely to take office – has been campaigning on a platform far more nuclear-friendly than its rivals, raising the hopes of many Australian uranium miners and explorers who are keen to see Japanese demand for uranium increase. The managing director of uranium explorer Deep Yellow, [...]

North Australia Digest – 12/12/2012

by 12 December 2012

The Australian

The Northern Territory government is hoping to finalise an agreement with gas company ENI today which is said to be “critical” to keeping Rio Tinto’s loss-making aluminium refinery open, potentially saving up to 1400 jobs. The proposed deal would see the Northern Territory government sacrifice around 30 per cent of its domestic gas to power the refinery, putting pressure on the company to keep the plant running. Its closure could cost the [...]

Pilbara cries out for workers

by 12 December 2012

The bid by shire councils in the Pilbara to import workers for retail, hospitality and other sectors demonstrates that it is not just big resources companies that are desperate for skilled and willing staff. As the mining industry has expanded, so has demand for support services in local communities. But the high cost of living in the region, as well as the isolation, has deterred many people from taking up the job opportunities.

The Pilbara [...]

Pilbara councils eye foreign workers

by 11 December 2012

Pilbara councils want to import foreign workers for smaller businesses in the retail, hospitality and other sectors that are struggling to secure local employees.

Pilbara Regional Council chief executive Tony Friday told ABC radio today that the council had written to Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, flagging its intention to apply for a Regional Migration Agreement.

The Pilbara Regional Council includes the shires of Ashburton, East Pilbara and Roebourne and the town of Port Hedland.

The RMA program was [...]

North Australia Digest – 11/12/2012

by 11 December 2012

The Australian

Australia’s push to become the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas threatens to lead to higher prices and a shortage of supplies locally. Demand from proposed projects may exceed the capacity of pipelines to supply sufficient gas to meet the requirements of both export and domestic markets. While there are sufficient gas reserves to meet these demands for LNG, many reserves are not developed quickly enough, which could see supply shortfalls [...]