10 June 2014
The federal government on Tuesday released its draft policy document into developing the country’s north, outlining six main focus areas, including governance.
The others are infrastructure, land access, water management, trade and business, and research.
The paper warns that the federal government must collaborate with state governments, and coordinate activities with the private sector to kickstart growth.
The region’s agriculture industry already generates $5 billion, with 55 per cent of Australian exports also tracking through the area.
The Abbott government committed to developing northern Australia to unlock economic potential for the entire nation at last year’s election.
It wants to develop a food bowl, build an $150 billion energy export industry and grow tourism to two million international visitors per year.
However, the region is plagued by barriers including extreme climate, sparse populations and a lack of services.
A lack of water, overlapping land leases and inflexible conditions, including inefficiencies with the native title system, also slows development, the paper says.
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said more needed to be done to take advantage of the north’s geographic advantage and proximity to Asia.
The green paper is open for public submissions until August 8 to aid the development of a white paper, which will outline policies.
The government has also established a northern Australia advisory group, comprising Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Mr Truss and the leaders of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Courtesy of the Australian