Article – New Dept for Northern Australia proposed

9 September 2014
PS News
A new Parliamentary report has recommended the creation of a Department of Northern Australian Development, based in Northern Australia.
Pivot North, the final report from Parliament’s Northern Australia Committee, makes 42 recommendations addressing opportunities for and impediments to the development of Northern Australia.
The Committee also recommended that the Government consider locating relevant Departmental functions within the Australian Public Service to Northern Australia, particularly where new organisations or Departments or positions were being created which had no historical connection to other parts of Australia.
It said the locations would have benefits for the Public Service and regional economies.
“A number of Government Departments have responsibilities with a Northern Australia focus. Locating elements of those Departments in Northern Australia would give them greater knowledge of the region, a better understanding of how their responsibilities might be undertaken, and improve response times for the implementation of policy,” the Committee said.
It said that judging by the evidence it had received, elements of the Departments of Immigration and Border Protection (including Customs), Defence, Agriculture, Environment, Industry, Indigenous Affairs, and Foreign Affairs and Trade could effectively be relocated to the North.
The report also recommended the establishment of a Cooperative Research Centre for northern agriculture and the development of a national institute for tropical sports and sports medicine.
Other recommendations included that key roads be identified with funding for their upgrade being a matter of priority, subject to a relative benefit assessment.
Projects to be considered include the continued upgrade of National Highways (including the Bruce and Stuart Highways), Hann Highway, Peninsula Development Road, Tanami Road, Outback Way and beef development roads.
The committee believed that a cost-benefit analysis should be conducted on a rail link between Mount Isa and Tennant Creek and the building of passing lanes on the Darwin to Alice Springs Railway.
It found that infrastructure projects meeting scientific and economic assessments should be funded and developed and that the potential and practicality of special economic zones be investigated.
The report also said that measures to reduce insurance premiums in Northern Australia to affordable levels be taken, and that funding of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative be continued.
Courtesy of PS News