Article – Northern Development Summit should contribute to development of White Paper

by 3 July 2014

27 June 2014
Townsville Enterprise

Over 400 key politicians, business people and academics from across the nation will descend on Townsville tomorrow for the 2014 Northern Development Summit.

Hosted by independent think tank, ADC Forum, the summit aims to bring together key stakeholders from across the country to help shape the Federal Government’s policy to develop Northern Australia.

Townsville Enterprise Chief Executive Officer, David Kippin, said the Summit should develop clear actions that can contribute to the ongoing Northern Australia debate.

“What we expect to see from this Summit is clear expectations and commitment from all levels of Government, but particularly from Federal Government, supported by Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, to actioning the White Paper recommendations with firm policies that must carry over successive Governments.”

“Townsville has long been recognised as a key driver of economic and strategic development for Northern Australia and this Summit will provide the opportunity to engage the entire Nation as we, as a region, take a leadership role in providing a significant contribution to the agenda and direction of the development of the North.”

“This Summit will host key policy makers from the Prime Minister’s Office as well as a number of senior policy advisers from the Northern Australia Task Force, charged with what will be the Federal Government’s long term actions on developing Northern Australia,” David said.

James Cook University Vice Chancellor, Professor Sandra Harding, who serves on the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Advisory Group, said the summit represented a once in a generation opportunity for full public discussion on all six policy directions including:

  • delivering economic infrastructure
  • improving land use and access
  • improving water access and management;
  • promoting trade and investment, and strengthening the business environment;
  • fostering education, research and innovation; and
  • enhancing governance

“Northern Australia lies at the intersection of the two great axes of global growth – the Asian axis which everyone is seeing and the tropical axis which fewer are seeing.”

“The future of Australia – and the key opportunities for northern Australia – are tightly linked to growth in the Tropics as well as in Asia,” Professor Harding said.

Cr Jenny Hill said the conference was the biggest forum of its type to come to the city and was attracting interest from around Australia and internationally.

“The North is poised to play a major role in the future development of Australia and hosting such a high profile national forum is a coup for Townsville,” Cr Hill said.

Member for Townsville John Hathaway said the forum will see key delegates from agricultural, resource, tourism and energy industries which aligns with three of the four Queensland Government’s economic pillars.

“The strong linkage and alignment of the Queensland Plan’s regionalisation goals with the Federal Northern Australia Development goals and the hosting of this Forum in Townsville reinforces our Government’s commitment to the North Queensland region.” Mr Hathaway said.

Mr Kippin said the Summit also provides a platform to discuss the Government’s White Paper which outlines the Government’s vision to

  • Develop a food bowl, including premium produce, which could help to double Australia’s agricultural output;
  • Build an energy export industry worth $150 billion to the economy, with a major focus on clean and efficient energy, providing major increases to resource exports; and
  • Grow the tourist economy in northern Australia to 2 million international tourists a year.

“The Summit outcomes must convert into a national conversation to convince Southern Australians that the future prosperity of Australia must be driven out of developing Northern Australia which is in the nation’s interest.”

“This is essential given that we operate on a governance back foot because there are only eight federal seats across all of Northern Australia with all the political governance power residing in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.”

Courtesy of Townsville Enterprise

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