Joint media release with Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt gave the opening address to the sixth annual Developing Northern Australia conference in Rockhampton today, which brings together governments, industry and researchers to discuss ways to drive economic growth and resolve challenges that impede development in northern Australia.
“The Coalition Government is supporting northern Australia with more than $3 billion for farmers, businesses and communities in response to the floods, drought and summer bushfire crisis,” he said.
“More than $4 billion has also been provided for northern Australia in the October Budget to help the north rebound from the COVID-19 downturn.
“For northern Australia, the future is about development. It’s about bringing forward new infrastructure projects, encouraging growth, strengthening business and creating jobs.
“The Government’s investment will help us pursue a gas-led recovery by developing strategic basin plans that will create thousands of jobs across the north, starting with the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory.
“We’ve committed almost half a billion dollars to water infrastructure and feasibility projects that can catalyse a range of projects in the north and create jobs.
“Reforms that I have introduced for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) will also speed up approvals and make it simpler for suitable projects to qualify for funding from the $5 billion facility.”
NAIF has already committed more than $2.4 billion to support projects across northern Australia, supporting around 8,000 jobs and helping the northern economy through the COVID-19 recession.
Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry also addressed the conference and said jobs would be central to the next phase of northern development, underpinned by the Developing Northern Australia White Paper.
“The Coalition Government is committed to support the north to reach its full economic potential and the next phase of the northern agenda will have a singular focus on creating jobs through more business opportunities as we recover from COVID-19,” Assistant Minister Landry said.
“We will work to make sure people right across our north can benefit, including Indigenous Australians. By working in partnership, with all of our key stakeholders we will support greater Indigenous economic participation, jobs and prosperity.”
Minister Pitt also welcomed a major research report from the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia, to be released this week, which identifies barriers to development and jobs growth across agriculture, health services, communications and traditional owner-led businesses.
“The State of the North Report is a valuable contribution to northern Australia and its continued economic expansion will help communities, businesses, industries and policy makers make informed decisions for the next phase of the Northern Australia Agenda,” Minister Pitt said.