20 September 2013
One of the pre-election promises of the Coalition government was to develop a white paper on the future of Australia’s north. Warren Entsch, Federal Liberal MP, will chair a committee developing the white paper. Entsch says his first priority will be establishing the committee and says submissions have already been received since the white paper was announced and discusses the Northern Australia land and water taskforce that the previous Howard government undertook. Entsch says the taskforce made under the Labor government focused on locking up northern Australia and said there were no opportunities. Entsch discusses the issue of water storage and the possibility of new dams being built in the north. Entsch says there are also energy opportunities and other avenues to investigate like tropical science, education and medicine in northern Australia. Wilson asks about the talk of creating the new food bowl of the country in northern Australia and Entsch says there are significant areas of opportunity in Cape York for growing food crops though there are constraints of water and energy availability. Entsch says that tenure issues need to be looked at in the area to ensure that tenure reflects the life of the investment people are putting up. Entsch says the government could move out of the way and provide enabling legislation so private investors can come in and make a difference. Wilson asks about the alignment between the Coalition’s talk and that of the group Australians for Northern Development Economic Vision that includes Gina Rinehart. Entsch says he doesn’t know Gina Rinehart and as the chair of the committee he is determined that they identify all opportunities for northern Australia.
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Courtesy of Radio National
20 September 2013