Article – ‘Not Mickey Mouse stuff’: Northern Australian development worth billions to NT, say Andrew Robb

by 12 November 2015

6 November 2015
Jacqueline Breen
ABC News

Trade Minister Andrew Robb says the Federal Government is delivering on its promise to drive development in Northern Australia, with a major meeting of foreign investors taking place this weekend.

Mr Robb was speaking ahead of the Northern Australian Investment Forum, starting in Darwin on Sunday.

The forum was flagged earlier this year when then prime minister Tony Abbott unveiled the Government’s 20-year plan to make the north “an economic powerhouse”.

“This weekend is the first down-payment in a way, to help give life to [the] white paper,” Mr Robb said.

“We’ve got, coming to Darwin, a remarkable list of significant investors from around the globe.”

Mr Robb said 250 overseas investors were set to attend the forum, where they would hear from proponents of projects in northern Australia seeking investment.

He said the investors represented major investment funds and companies from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom.

“It’s an extraordinarily exciting time,” he said.

“We’re talking billions of dollars here, this is not Mickey Mouse stuff.”

The forum will include a showcase of potential investments in the north, including a luxury hotel proposed for Darwin, the Ord stage three development and numerous resource projects.

Earlier this year the Northern Land Council said it was taking a “cautionary watch and response” approach to the white paper and the renewed push for northern development.

Chief executive Joe Morrison said in June that there had been few conversations with Indigenous people, but welcomed the funds allocated to expedite long-standing native title claims.

An aerial view of irrigation channels on Ord Stage Two in WA's northPHOTO: Aerial view of irrigation channels in Ord Stage Two

Courtesy of ABC News

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