Is it our duty to leave to future generations of Australians a robust and growing economy, something all the more achievable if we unleash the potential of Northern Australia, or is it our duty to leave them with mounting debt and consequent high taxation for the rest of their lives?
The potential for economic development in Northern Australia is undeniable and developing the North should be a priority for all levels of government. We are doing a great disservice to future generations if we do not capitalise on the abundant opportunities in the region.
These opportunities don’t just exist in the mining and resources sector, but in agriculture, defence, energy, medicine, education, tourism, communications and across the full spectrum of human activity.
There is also huge potential for Northern Australia to become the high-quality, high gross margin food bowl for Asia. We currently feed 60 million people a year. With sensible water catchment and deployment of the latest agricultural, transport and logistics technology, Australia could feed 120 million, or more. Agriculture depends on plastics, steel, ammonia and energy, Australia more than pulls its weight to feed far more than its share of the world’s population, but without the four commodities, only half the world’s current population could be fed. This example points out the consequences of excessive and onerous regulations.
The CSIRO (2015) estimated that 60% of Australia’s total annual rainfall falls in Northern Australia and only a very small percentage of that is captured. If this water is harnessed and able to be used, it would have positive implications for stock, revenue, water storage, easing flood damage, power generation and irrigation schemes.
By 2020, more than half the world’s middle class will be in Asia and Asian consumers will account for over 40 per cent of global middle class consumption. Australia’s proximity to Asian markets is unrivalled and the exploding Asia-Pacific middle class is already creating huge new mass markets. It will also create very large niche markets suited to the higher-cost, quality goods available in Australia.
Asia is the new growth market and, as the OECD report suggests, the growth will occur in the immediate future. If Australia is to take advantage of this historic opportunity, then we should start now by transforming the North of Australia.
Northern Australia is on Asia’s doorstep and we would be foolish to miss out on this competitive advantage, and miss the opportunity to create revenue and raise the North’s standards of living,
In 2019 (ABS cat 5638) WA, NT and Queensland were responsible for $277 B of Australia’s exports or 71% of Australia’s total annual exports. With the right policies, there is potential for this to grow and for other opportunities to be established.
ANDEV has a vision of a thriving North Australia with more investment, growth, revenue, more opportunities, more amenities and higher living standards. But firstly, this needs leadership, to significantly cut tape and taxes. Australia’s status as a major supplier of goods and services to our Asia-Pacific neighbours is at risk as competition increases from around the world. Policies that make Northern Australia and Australia generally more competitive are vital.
Industries associated with the resources sector are moving investment overseas as Australian governments make it more difficult and more risky to invest in Australia. For instance, just in recent weeks, it is publicly available information, that Rio, one of the world’s greatest mining companies, that has brought, billions and billions and more billions of dollars to Australia, is not looking to Australia for lithium opportunities, but Trudeaus Canada, and even investing in Guinea, where civil war and disruption occurs, to pour billions of dollars into opening a new mine at Simandou, rather than the Pilbara of West Australia, right on the doorstep of the growing Asian markets.
But it isn’t just the resources sector. Agricultural development in Northern Australia has long been hamstrung by distant governments who don’t understand the particular needs of Northern Australia and the consequence of their policies and excessive regulations.
Governments are making Australia less competitive by putting in place more taxes and by tying entrepreneurs in red-tape and placing upward pressure on input costs for Northern industry.
With ANDEV style Government policies, which have been successful in many countries, the future of Northern Australia and Australia could be fantastic.