There has been widespread support for the Coalition’s Northern Development Discussion Paper which surfaced late last week. The Business Spectator praised the Discussion Paper’s vision and foresight here and here. The paper also received support from many groups in Northern Australia, including the Cairns Chamber of Commerce and Mt Isa Mayor and former State Labor MP The Hon. Cr Tony McGrady AM. Our response to the paper can be found here.
Acting Northern Territory Chief Minister Robyn Lambley also supported the plan, stating: “Tony Abbott is really saying there’s a lot of potential up here — there’s a lot of reasons people should build their future up here and reside here.” The Daily Telegraph’s editorial notes America’s economic growth was driven by westward expansion and questions why Australia can’t achieve something similar developing the North.
The IPA’s Peter Gregory says an increase in North Australia’s agricultural production could play an important role in improving the lives of millions of people throughout the Asia-Pacific, where food prices have doubled in the past decade.
A KPMG study released last week shows permanent populations are growing faster in mining regions than in other rural areas. The research, commissioned by peak resources groups, showed average growth rates in nine key mining regions was around 1.5 per cent with the Pilbara growing fastest at 7.3 per cent. The Pilbara’s rapid growth and inflated rental market is putting a major strain on Port Hedland council, with many operational staff unable to afford housing.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills has received federal government support in his attempts to save Rio Tinto’s Gove aluminium refinery, the NT’s largest private enterprise. A closure would see 1,200 jobs lost and have major ramifications for the outback town of Nhulnbuy and nearby Aboriginal communities.
The Australian Agricultural Company has blamed a $41 million reduction to the value of its North Australian properties squarely on the federal government’s 2011 live cattle export ban. AACo’s Chief Executive David Farley said the Australian government’s relationship with Indonesia was still in need of urgent attention.