Article – Stone to chair Northern Group

by 13 June 2014

10 June 2014
Farm Weekly

FORMER Northern Territory Chief Minister Shane Stone will lead a push for agribusiness development across the north as head of the Northern Australia Advisory Group.

The appointment was announced at the launch of the Green Paper on Developing Northern Australia by Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss in Townsville on Tuesday.

Other members of the advisory group are: Wayne Bergmann, Jack Burton, Dr Ken Chapman, Professor Sandra Harding, Noeline Ikin, David Menzel, Nicholas Paspaley AC, Trent Twomey, Ken Warriner AM and Djawa Yunupingu.

Mr Truss said the panel would provide expert advice on developing Northern Australia to the members of the Strategic Partnership including ministers from the federal government and the Queensland, NT and Western Australian State governments.

Following development of the Green Paper, a White Paper is due out later this year, with goals including to:

  • Develop a food bowl which could help to double Australia’s agricultural output;

“The Green Paper reminds us that Northern Australia is vital to our national economy, with 55 per cent of exports shipped through northern ports and agricultural production in the north worth over $5 billion,” Mr Truss said.

The Green Paper sets out six policy directions:

Public comment in invited on these by August 8, 2014.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Western Australia, Alannah MacTiernan, said the capacity to create opportunities in the north had been compromised by cuts to the CSIRO and other rural research programs announced in last month’s federal budget.

Ms MacTiernan said water management was the number one issue in unlocking the growth in the North, including the Kimberley and Pilbara. She said cuts to vital CSIRO research would include northern water programs and demonstrated the “small thinking of a government which fails to grasp the connection between science and expanding the economy”.

Northern Development is a priority for the Coalition, with the Advisory Group one of several bodies now dedicated to the issue. Former boss of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association Luke Bowen is set to head up the NT’s new Northern Australia Development Office from July 7, not to be confused with the federal government’s Office of Northern Australia or the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia, chaired by Warren Entsch.

  • Build an energy export industry worth $150 billion to the economy, with a major focus on clean and efficient energy;
  • Grow the tourist economy to 2 million international tourists a year.
  • 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;
  • enhancing governance.

Courtesy of Farm Weekly

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