North Australia Digest – 29/10/2012

Australian Financial Review
While the Asia Century White Paper has placed a large emphasis on developing Darwin as a regional hub for a significant number of goods and services, Australian Agricultural chief executive, David Farley has warned ‘they are nice words, they just have to be able to do it’.
Jennifer Hewett writes that the Asian Century White Paper has idealised objectives of supplying iron ore, liquefied natural gas and high quality food to middle class Asia, but contains very little detail of how they will occur.
Strong demand throughout Asia continues to drive the Australia coal, liquefied natural gas and iron ore export, but with commodity prices unlikely to reach the heights of the last few years, there is a significant slowing in the industry.
A compromised Wheat Export bill to fully deregulate the wheat market could pass the lower house with the support of cross bench and several Liberal MPs, in defiance of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, according to Liberal MP Mal Washer.
The Australian
Darwin will be both a regional hub and a gateway to Asia according to the Asian Century White Paper.
The Northern Territory government will develop a strategic plan centred on Indonesia in response to the Asian Century White Paper. Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills said he would establish an Australian-Indonesia forum at Charles Darwin University, where senior figures from the two countries could share ideas.
Australia is in prime position to become the food bowl for the Asian market, as the needs of the region are ‘surging’. With food demand from Asia expected to rise by 70 per cent by 2050, the White Paper has predicted a significant increase to Australia’s economy. (No link)
Trade Minister Craig Emerson has said there is ‘no plans’ to change the MRRT if Labor were to be re-elected next year, after it was revealed that the MRRT had failed to raise any revenue in its initial three months.
Perth Now
Australia’s trade with Asia is expected to rise steeply under the federal government’s new Asia Century policy blueprint. Trade Minister Craig Emerson said the government would position Australia as a ‘connecting rod’ between Asia and Latin America as part of its goal of securing an Asia-Pacific free trade deal.
The West Australian
Australia should become a food bowl to Asia by providing high quality food to China’s growing middle class, according to Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Shane Wright also provides comment on the growing demand for natural resources in the Asian region.

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