New Vision for a competitive North | Darwin to become the Houston of Northern Australia

Welcome to the first edition of Ideas for a new North for 2012.

Once a fortnight, we will be bringing you an update on important news and views on Northern Australia.

The NT News had this to say on 25 March: “Darwin is undergoing an economic revolution…it will be the Houston of northern Australia – vigorous and wealthy.”  Click here for the full editorial.

There are even more concerns about housing affordability in FIFO mining towns. The NT News has highlighted soaring property and rental prices. And a new FIFO route has just begun between Albany and the Pilbara.

Companies are looking overseas for employees as a reult of worsening skills shortages. The federal government will begin holding a series of expos across America to attract skilled workers to Northern Australia. Western Australian Skills Minister Peter Collier has been in a stoush with Labor Immigration Minister Chris Bowen over visa restrictions affecting Irish workers.

There’s worrying news from China and international commodity markets. This article from the Wall Street Journal warns of slowing sales growth in China.

And it’s not just in mining. Western Australian farmers are increasingly worried about food commodity prices as well.

On the federal front, on May 8, Treasurer Wayne Swan will deliver his fifth consecutive budget. He has promised a $1.5 billion surplus. He has foreshadowed changes to tax concessions for the mining industry, including the diesel fuel rebate.

The budget will be an opportunity for the federal government to outline a vision for Northern Australia and should include preliminary proposals for a Special Economic Zone.

IFANN will keep you posted in the lead up to the budget.

If you’d like more information on our vision for a new North please contact the Director of the project, John Shipp, at or on 0429 706 661.

Also visit our website:

As always, please feel free to share your vision for a new North by emailing me at