Minister Pitt has delivered the fifth Annual Statement to Parliament on the progress of the northern Australia development agenda.
The sustainable economic development of northern Australia has long been a national vision. The 20-year policy framework in the Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia has guided that vision.
This year’s statement reports 45 of the 51 White Paper measures were delivered including:
- over $2.4 billion in investments through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for infrastructure projects across the north
- reforms to NAIF that extend the program to June 2026 and make it easier for small businesses to qualify
- continued investment in research for agriculture, health and Traditional Owner-led development through the $75 million Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia
- Northern Australia and Beef Roads Programs upgrading supply chains with 23 projects complete, 12 projects underway and the final 3 to start this year
- additional road projects brought forward within the next 12 months under the Roads of Strategic Importance program
- over $497 million for water infrastructure helping industries like agriculture diversify
- 42 areas available for oil and gas exploration in the 2020 Acreage Release with most offshore of northern Australia
- Northern Australia Indigenous Development Accord to advance Indigenous economic development across northern Australia.
This year economic support has included the $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund. Funding is going to regions, communities and industry disproportionately affected by COVID-19 across aviation, agriculture, fisheries, tourism and the arts.
The 2020-21 Budget invests $4 billion into northern Australia including:
- $655 million in road infrastructure across the north
- $28.3 million to develop 5 Strategic Basins Plans to unlock gas reserves, increase supply and lower prices starting with Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory and North Bowen and Galilee Basins in North Queensland
- $3 million for the North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority
- $5.6 million for the National Water Grid Authority to identify and develop projects for inclusion in the 10-year Australian Investment Schedule
The next 5 years of the northern Australia development agenda will set out a plan that capitalises on the north’s natural assets- its land, water, minerals, energy and people.
The untapped potential, abundant resources and diverse community strategically places northern Australia to help lead Australia’s economic recovery.