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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:
- Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) provides states and territories with financial assistance for northern infrastructure projects.
- Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) funds industry-led research to develop new technologies, products and services in the north.
- Northern Australia Indigenous Reference Group advises government on supporting Indigenous businesses.
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.
- National Water Grid Authority shapes national water infrastructure policy and investment.
- National Water Infrastructure Development Fund accelerates water infrastructure projects and studies.
- Regional Investment Corporation provides loans for states and territories to build water infrastructure.
- North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority coordinates key schemes and develops business cases for funding.
- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) assessed northern water resources in priority regions and is assessing 2 more.
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:
- Northern Australia Roads Program
- Northern Australia Beef Roads Program
- Roads of Strategic Importance northern Australia package
- Outback Way upgrade
Community and regional development
We’re strengthening northern communities and making cities more liveable through:
- City and Regional Deals in Townsville, Darwin and Barkley
- our department’s Building Better Regions Fund
We support initiatives that grow northern businesses and encourage more Australians to live and work in the north, including the:
- Community Development Programme for remote Australia
- expanded Seasonal Worker Programme
- Pacific Labour Scheme
- expanded Working Holiday Maker visa
- Skilling Australians Fund to build a stronger workforce for the north
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.
- Minister’s fifth Annual Statement to Parliament 2020
- White Paper Progress Update August 2020
- Minister's fourth Annual Statement to Parliament 2019
- Minister's third Annual Statement to Parliament 2018
- White Paper Implementation Report 2018
- Minister's second Annual Statement to Parliament 2017
- White Paper Implementation Report 2017
- Minister's first Annual Statement to Parliament 2016
Statements and agreements
- Development Statement for Northern Australia
- Defence Statement for Northern Australia
- Northern Australia Indigenous Development Accord
Connect with us
- Subscribe to the Our North Our Future newsletter
- Follow #developingnorthernaustralia on Twitter and LinkedIn
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone 08 8923 4410
- Office of Northern Australia
Last updated: 6 May 2021
Content ID: 12616