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Developing northern Australia

A strong and prosperous north is critical to Australia’s economic future.

The Australian Government’s 2015 Our North Our Future White Paper on Developing Northern Australia laid the foundations for economic growth to maximise northern Australia’s potential.

Progress on the northern agenda

Six years into the 20-year northern Australia agenda, we’ve already achieved most of our goals:

  • building roads for better access across regions
  • supporting major new projects with concessional finance
  • funding industry-led research and innovation
  • investing in water infrastructure to develop new agricultural opportunities

The north is fast becoming an even more attractive place to live, work and do business.

The Our North, Our Future 2021–26: next five year plan focusses on:

  • supporting national recovery efforts from COVID-19
  • driving job creation and industry growth

Partnering on the northern agenda

The Office of Northern Australia leads a whole-of-government effort.

Our key partners:

Supporting northern development

We support programs and initiatives across the north.


Water is critical to grow northern industries like agriculture, aquaculture, mining, energy and tourism.


Better infrastructure allows our farmers, miners and producers to get their products to markets more easily and reliably. It also helps grow the tourism industry.

We’re funding better roads, in partnership with the Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australian governments, through the:

Community and regional development

We’re strengthening northern communities and making cities more liveable through:

We support initiatives that grow northern businesses and encourage more Australians to live and work in the north, including the:

Economic development

We’re promoting investment in resources to help shape the north’s economic future. Priorities include:

  • developing onshore gas resources to meet demand and harness global opportunities
  • expanding supply chains, downstream processing, manufacturing, research and innovation

Australia’s defence industry contributes almost 7% of the north’s economic growth. The Australian Defence Force supports a strong north and is upgrading defence facilities and infrastructure.

Biosecurity and land arrangements

Australia’s clean, pest and disease free status is one of our greatest assets. We support the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s Indigenous ranger biosecurity activities.

Austrade’s Investors’ guide to tenure in northern Australia explains land tenure, native title and how to partner with Indigenous communities.

Progress reports

Statements and agreements

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Connect with us

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See also

Last updated: 6 May 2021

Content ID: 12616