New Vision for a competitive North | Green Paper offers no vision for Northern Australia

On Tuesday, the government released its National Food Plan Green Paper in which it avoided any substantial committment to developing agriculture in Northern Australia.

John Shipp, Director of the North Australia Project, yesterday highlighted the government’s lack of vision in not setting out a clear strategy for unleashing Northern Australia’s agricultural potential.

Several mining companies have released their production forecasts this week.  BHP has projected a five per cent rise in 2013 iron ore production.  Also in the Pilbara, Rio Tinto reported first half iron ore production of 120 million tonnes – four per cent higher than the first half of 2011.

Despite this, Rio Tinto is forecasting weaker production of copper, coking coal and thermal coal and Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese said that market conditions had deteriorated in recent months.

The Australian reported last week that East Africa is emerging as a competitor for Australia as an LNG hub supplying Asia.

The coal mining industry in Queensland lost production worth $3 billion in the March quarter.  Some of this can be attributed to lower coal prices but, according to a Port Jackson Partners report, increasing labour, energy and transport costs, are also having a significant effect on the competitiveness of projects in Queensland.

In positive news for Northern Australia, Infrastructure Australia has identified significant investment opportunities in the Pilbara.  The national infrastructure co-ordinator, Michael Deegan, said that IA will be looking at “housing, land development, water, sewerage, energy, mines, ports, telecommunications – the whole box and dice.”

A poll in the West Australian on Monday revealed that 42 per cent of people in Western Australia believe that the mining boom is having a positive impact on their personal circumstances.

If you’d like more information on our vision for a new North, please contact 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