Major infrastructure funding key to Northern Australia development

by 12 September 2014

8 September 2014
Parliament of Australia

Funding for major road upgrades and water infrastructure projects are among over 40 recommendations made by a parliamentary inquiry in its final report on the economic development of Northern Australia.

The Northern Australia Committee has tabled its final report, Pivot North, after spending much of this year travelling through the region for a series of public hearings.

Among the 42 recommendations made by the committee, several have been identified as a priority including:

• The creation of a Department of Northern Australian Development based in Northern Australia
• The identification of key roads such as national highways and the commitment of funding for their upgrade
• Funding and development of water infrastructure projects that meet scientific and economic assessments
• Investigation of the potential and practicality of special economic zones.
• Measures to reduce insurance premiums in Northern Australia to affordable levels

Committee Chair Warren Entsch said the development of Northern Australia is one of the biggest challenges facing the nation.

“There are great opportunities for the people of Northern Australia within the tropical zone,” he said.

“But the development of Northern Australia has in the past lacked a commitment by governments at all levels to pursue investment and development in a consistent, sustainable and coordinated way.”

Other recommendations include establishing a CRC for northern agriculture and developing a national institute for tropical sports and sports medicine.

The report also addresses growing concerns over FIFO employment, recommending improved taxation arrangements to encourage local employment in the resources sector.

This inquiry has formed one part of a broader process aimed at promoting the development of Northern Australia.

The Committee’s findings and recommendations will inform the Government’s White Paper process, assisting it to formulate its policy for the future development of Northern Australia.

Courtesy of the Parliament of Australia

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