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Video: 2020 ONA Annual Statement

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Publication Date: 
1 January 2021

The Office of Northern Australia acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout northern Australia and recognises their intrinsic connection to the land, waters and culture. We pay our respect to their elders past, present and emerging.

Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing northern Australia.

In 2020, 45 of the 51 inception measures are finalised.

$6.1 billion has been capitalised to build a secure and prosperous Australia.

This has laid the foundational for a sustainable development framework, underpinned by evidence based policy and strategic investment.

Northern Australia plays a critical role in Australia’s economic future.

In 2016-17, northern Australia represented an estimated 11 per cent of Australia’s GDP, or approximately $187 billion, yet accounted for 5 per cent of the national population.

This is a region that continues to grow and adapt, building on traditional industries and strategically positioned at the forefront of contemporary and emerging industries.

January 2020

The Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia was appointed and a dedicated Assistant Minister role was established.

February 2020

Strengthening the ambition of a strong, sustainable northern economy.

March 2020

Chair, Ms Glenys Schuntner, CEO of Regional Development Australia Townsville and North Queensland: “It’s really about putting Northern Australia into the national agenda, the national narrative. To say we focus on development in the north, it’s good for all of Australia. What’s good for the Northern Austrralia is actually good for all of Australia”.

Our expertise was diversified with the establishment of the Advisory Group on the northern Australia agenda.

April 2020

The potential impact of this once in a lifetime pandemic started to emerge.

The north rallied to protect the health of, and prevent transmission in our most vulnerable communities.

Relief measures were rapidly rolled out.

The response embodied the character of the north – determination, persistence and a lot of hard work.

May 2020

Industry adjusted. Businesses innovated to continue operations.

The north re-positioned to maintain its industry base.

And the strategic work continued …

June 2020

The Exploring for the Future program update was released:

  • the mapping of resource potential across 3 million square kilometres of northern Australia was published
  • releasing the new pre-competitive data and information to de-risk resource decision making
  • encouraging investment and the creation of jobs for years to come.

July 2020

The National Agreement on Closing the Gap is signed by the First Ministers of all Australian Governments…

“We know that the best outcomes are achieved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are equal partners with governments, and when they have a direct say in how we are going to be successful in driving the desired outcomes.” The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is extended for a further five years.

As at 31 October2020, the NAIF has approved loans in each northern jurisdiction to the rounded values of:

  • $989 million for Queensland across nine projects equating to 42 per cent of total approved loans.
  • $857 million for the Northern Territory across eight projects equating to 35.2 per cent of the total.
  • $555 million for Western Australia across six projects equating to 22.8 per cent of the total.

August 2020

Water resources is a major driver of economic activity, particularly for key northern industries such as agriculture, aquaculture, mining, and energy.

The Northern Australia Water Resource Assessments examines opportunities for water resource development in key catchments in northern Australia, this science underpins evidence-based decisions on economic development:

  • Big Rocks Weir business case is completed.
  • To date, $497.2 million has been committed to water projects in northern Australia and work continues to ensure these vital projects are completed.

September 2020

The Government announced a series of reforms to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility aimed at improving the speed and scope of projects to be funded that will further support economic opportunities and more jobs across the north.

The reforms include:

  • Allowing more flexibility in NAIF decision-making powers to improve the lending speed of the NAIF.
  • Expanded edibility criteria to include outcomes-focused projects; for example, financing projects resulting in new construction or job creation, rather than only financing the construction itself.

October 2020

2020-21 Federal Budget is delivered with measures to support Australia’s economic recovery.

In the north, measures to support a gas led economic recovery, as well as initiatives to strengthen the resources and exploration sectors, and investing in water infrastructure to allow regional communities to diversify.

November 2020

The White Paper on Developing Northern Australia is the foundational 20 year vision for northern Australia’s sustainable development.

The next phase of the Australian Government’s plan for northern Australia’s economic development is to create jobs and business opportunities through capitalising on the assets of the north – its land, water, minerals, energy and people.

Supported by targeted measures aimed at creating jobs, leveraging the north’s advantages to drive growth in traditional sectors, like food and agribusiness, resources, energy, and tourism and edging our way into high-tech and innovative new industries.