Budget invests in jobs and growth for Australia’s north

Joint media release with Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt

The Coalition Government is injecting over $1.42 billion directly into northern Australia to help boost jobs and economic growth as the nation recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. The north will further benefit from a suite of national budget measures.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the 2021-22 Budget will build on the government’s strong support for northern Australia by investing in job creating projects, skills and infrastructure for the next phase of northern development.

“The Budget takes our investment in the north to a new level and supports the next five-year phase of implementing the 20 year 2015 White Paper on Developing Northern Australia,” Minister Pitt said.

“The new investment is all about creating jobs and opportunities across northern Australia, and helping northern Australian businesses grow and flourish as Australia’s economy rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry said northern Australia would also benefit from the Government’s $20 billion commitment to the COVID-19 vaccine roll out and strengthening of the health system in response to COVID-19 to see us through to the other side of the pandemic.

“The 2021-22 Budget will ensure northern Australia can maximise its potential and continue to deliver jobs, opportunities and the essential services that keep Australians safe,” Assistant Minister Landry said.

“The Budget will help build on the natural strengths of our north, and ensure it continues to be a great place in which to live, work and invest.”

Key measures in the 2021-22 Budget include:

  • Nearly $190 million for the Our North, Our Future: 2021-2026 – Next Five Year Plan for northern Australia, including:
    • $9.3 million to pilot a Regions of Growth approach across four locations, Mount Isa to Townsville; Cairns to Gladstone; Beetaloo Basin to Darwin Port; and Broome to Kununurra to Darwin.
    • $111.9 million for a Northern Australia Development Program to help business scale up and diversify, and
    • $68.5 million for a Regional Connectivity Program, to improve digital connectivity across the north.
  • Funding to rehabilitate the former Rum Jungle copper and uranium mine site in the Northern Territory.
  • $40.3 million for the North Queensland Strata Title Resilience Pilot Program, to lower insurance costs for strata properties.
  • Investment in the northern Australia home and business reinsurance pool, to bring down costs for more than 500,000 residential, strata and small business property insurance customers.

Resources

Northern Australia has a central role to play in providing gas, resources and exploration activities that support team Australia. Our approach will strengthen the economy, create jobs and reduce emissions:

  • $15.7 million for Gas Field Trials in North Bowen and Galilee, Queensland Strategic Basins.
  • $2.2 million to build the Northern Land Council’s capacity to facilitate land use agreements and drive economic opportunities in the Beetaloo sub-basin.
  • $263.7 million for Carbon Capture Storage.
  • $100 million extension for the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive.

Energy

Initiatives to improve the affordability, reliability and security of energy supply in the region include:

  • Up to $30 million has been committed for electricity infrastructure projects in the Northern Territory, including $15 million for micro grids in 10 remote indigenous communities, and $15 million for a 35 megawatt big battery for the Darwin to Katherine interconnected system.
  • Up to $19.3 million to support the deployment of a renewable energy micro grid incorporating hydrogen for the Daintree community in north Queensland.

Infrastructure

We have continued to invest in northern transport corridors including:

  • $173.6 million for upgrades to the Northern Territory Gas industry corridor;
  • $150 million for Phase 2 of the Northern Territory National Network Highway upgrades (Stuart, Victoria and Barkly highways).
  • $400 million for the Inland Freight Route (Mungindi to Charters Towers, Queensland) upgrades.
  • $240 million for the Cairns Western Arterial Road Duplication.
  • $48 million for the Marble Bar Road upgrade in Western Australia.
  • $48 million to upgrade the Great Northern Highway between Broome and Kununurra.

Regional development

Supporting our regions is vital to our national COVID-19 recovery and our future economic prosperity. Programs available to northern Australians include:

  • $256 million for round 6 of the Building Better Regions Fund.
  • $5.7 million for the Rebuilding Regional Communities Program in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.
  • $22.7 million for round 7 of the Stronger Communities Program.
  • Over $1.3 billion in Financial Assistance Grants, by bringing forward approximately 50 per cent of the 2021-22 funding.
  • $84.8 million for the national Regional Connectivity Program.

Skills and Jobs

Our investment in education and skills lays the critical foundation for long term gainful employment and an inclusive and prosperous nation. National measures include:

  • $500 million for the JobTrainer Fund to be matched by contributions from the states and territories to deliver around 163,000 additional low fee and free training places in areas of skills need;
  • $243.6 million for Indigenous Skills and Jobs Advancement, including $128.4 million for a new Indigenous Skills and Employment Program, and $36.7 million to supplement funding for the Prescribed Body Corporate Capacity Building Program.
  • A $1.7 billion investment in child care affordability, and an increase to the duration of the apprentice wage subsidy.

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