Fifth Annual Statement on Developing Northern Australia

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.

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