Article – Alice faces exclusion under Coalition plan – Bryan littlely, Centralian Advocate26 June 2013
Alice Springs looks like being left desperately short of being part of “the next frontier” in Australia’s economic development if the Coalition takes power in the September federal election.
The federal Coalition has announced it will produce a white paper on the development of Northern Australia to attract billions of dollars to the region, build infrastructure and grow jobs and services if it takes government in September.
Under the plan, Northern Australia will no longer be seen as the last frontier but the “next frontier”, the Coalition says.
But Alice Springs falls 28.77km short of the boundary the plan uses to define Northern Australia the Tropic of Capricorn.
Despite an assurance from NT Chief Minister Adam Giles that “Northern Australia is about all of the Territory, to the South Australian border” the town of Alice Springs does not appear once in a 46-page document, The Coalition’s 2030 Vision for Developing Northern Australia, released last week.
The full white paper would be delivered within 12 months of the Opposition taking government. It will highlight how Northern Australia could drive economic growth in coming decades by:
DEVELOPING a food bowl, including premium produce, which could help to double Australia’s agricultural output;
GROWING the tourist economy in Northern Australia to 2 million international tourists annually; and
BUILDING an energy export industry worth $150 billion to the economy, with a major focus on clean and efficient energy.
The announcement, made on Friday in Townsville, Queensland, was delivered by Mr Abbott, the Shadow Minister for Finance Andrew Robb and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Northern and Remote Australia Senator Ian MacDonald.
“We want to capitalise on Northern Australia’s existing strengths and natural advantages in agriculture, cattle, and energy as well as to seize opportunities in tourism, education and health services,” the trio said in a joint statement.
Chair of the Coalition’s policy development committee Andrew Robb said Alice Springs would enjoy major flow-on benefits from developing the north. He said northern Australia was commonly defined as those parts of the country north of the Tropic of Capricorn.
“It is true that the Alice is just south of that line, but it’s an integral part of the north and will greatly benefit from our plans,” Mr Robb said. “If we can get the settings right to grow the economic pie of the north, that will be a good thing for Alice Springs.”
The white paper on developing Northern Australia will consider policy options including establishing a high-level Northern Australia Strategic Partnership comprising the Prime Minister, the premiers of Queensland and Western Australia and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.
“Whether there is a change of government or not, and whether this plan transpires or not as a result, we are always going to develop the Northern Territory,” Mr Giles said.
“We are going to make these changes anyway and Alice Springs is a part of that.”