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Developing northern Australia
The north has untapped promise, abundant resources and talented people. It’s Australia’s:
- closest connection point with our key international markets
- a high-value provider for domestic markets
Northern Australia agenda
The Australian Government is growing a stronger northern Australian economy through a long-term agenda of investment and support. The Our North Our Future White Paper on Developing Northern Australia sets out the priorities to unlock this potential over 20 years.
We’ve already achieved most of these goals.
Our north, our future
As part of the northern agenda we’re ensuring the north is an even more attractive place to live and do business.
Simpler land arrangements to support investment
The north can only reach its full potential when all people who live there work towards and benefit from this growth agenda. Indigenous leaders and government are committed to furthering the Indigenous business sector, increasing Indigenous land owner involvement in development, and supporting innovation.
- The Northern Australia Indigenous Reference Group advises government on supporting Indigenous businesses.
- Austrade’s Investors’ guide to tenure in northern Australia explains land tenure, native title and how to partner with Indigenous communities.
Developing the north’s water resources
Water is critical to grow northern industries like agriculture, aquaculture, mining, energy and tourism.
As part of the northern agenda the:
- 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 two more.
A business, trade and investment gateway
The Australian Government is funding industry-led research to develop new technologies, products and services in the north via the:
- Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA)
- Menzies School of Health Research HOT NORTH project
- Northern Australia Tropical Disease Collaborative Research Program
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 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
- Northern Australia Biosecurity Framework Reference Group
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.
Infrastructure to support growth
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.
The Australian Government provides states and territories with financial assistance for northern infrastructure projects through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).
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
We’re also 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 and Regional Growth Fund
A northern workforce for growth
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
- Designated Area Migration Agreement covering the Northern Territory
- expanded Seasonal Worker Programme
- Pacific Labour Scheme
- expanded Working Holiday Maker visa
The Skilling Australians Fund is also helping build a stronger workforce for the north.
Good governance for northern Australia
The Office of Northern Australia is leading implementation of the northern agenda, in close collaboration with the Australian, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australian governments. A long-term commitment and united effort across governments, industry and the community will ensure a stronger north.
The Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia conducts inquiries into northern development for Parliament or Ministers.
Progress on the northern agenda
See our progress reports:
- White Paper Progress Update August 2020
- Highlights from the Fourth Annual Statement on Developing Northern Australia
- Minister's Annual Statement to Parliament 2019
- White Paper Implementation Report 2018
- Minister's Annual Statement to Parliament 2018
- White Paper Implementation Report 2017
- Minister's Annual Statement to Parliament 2017
- Minister's Annual Statement to Parliament 2016
Connect with us
- Subscribe to the Our North Our Future newsletter
- Follow #developingnorthernaustralia on Twitter and LinkedIn
- Email email@example.com
- Phone 08 8923 4410
- Our department is reviewing how the NAIF is reaching its objectives
- See the government response to a recent NAIF senate inquiry
- Office of Northern Australia
Last updated: 20 January 2021
Content ID: 12616