Article – Northern Australia development could create new booming region

14 March 2014
Ray Clancy
Australia Forum

Currently only 6% of the Australian population live in the Northern part of the country north of the Tropic of Capricorn which covers Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, yet it makes up 39% of the country’s land mass.

The government’s vision for developing northern Australia is an exciting nation-building opportunity that, if managed well, can help provide the whole country with a more prosperous and secure future, it is claimed.
According to the Business Council of Australia, developing the region will create jobs and provide a high quality of living for people in a part of the country that is often overlooked, especially by ambitious job seekers and skilled overseas workers.
In a submission to the Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia, which is currently considering policies for developing the region, the Business Council of Australia supports the vision to develop the northern Australian region and make best use of its economic and strategic advantages.
“With its abundant resources and proximity to Asia, Northern Australia is set to become the new frontier in the economic development of Australia, opening up new opportunities which will benefit the entire nation,” said Committee Chair Warren Entsch.
“With the right policies and incentives in place, Northern Australia has the capacity to become a leader in agriculture, minerals and energy, tourism, research and education. We must remove impediments to growth and set the stage for innovation and investment,” he added.
Developing northern Australia and providing a high quality of living for people living in the region will require effective collaboration between the federal government, the governments of Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory, and business and local communities, including Indigenous Australian communities.
The submission states that the strategy should be based on sound policy-making principles that connect regional growth to its underlying economic and strategic strengths, that ensure that taxpayers’ money is well spent and that preserve and promote consistency in national economic and regulatory policies.
Investment in the region’s development should be led by the private sector and embrace participation by local communities, the submission adds.
The Committee will examine the potential for development of the region’s mineral, energy, agricultural, tourism, defence and other industries and provide recommendations to enhance trade and other investment links with the Asia-Pacific as well as identify the critical economic and social infrastructure needed to support the long term growth of the region, and ways to support planning and investment in that infrastructure.
It will also set out recommendation for a white paper which would detail government action needed to be taken to implement the committee’s recommendations and is due to present an interim report to Parliament as soon as practicable after 30 May 2014.
It will take into account the outcomes of public hearings being held across Northern Australia, and any specialist knowledge emanating from the public submissions process. It is then due to deliver its final report and recommendations to the Parliament on or before 06 July 2014.
Courtesy of Australia Forum