This is Australia’s first White Paper on developing Northern Australia and is a roadmap for achieving the vision for the North by 2035. The Paper delivers an initial investment of $1.2 billion which is in addition to the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
The White Paper includes measures to unlock the north’s potential across six key areas:
- Simpler land arrangements to support investment;
- Developing the North’s water resources;
- Growing the North as a business, trade and investment gateway;
- Investing in infrastructure to lower business and household costs;
- Reducing barriers to employing people; and
- Improving governance.
The Government is investing;
- $20.4 million to support native title bodies to realise their potential and negotiate more efficiently with business;
- $17 million to support secure property rights for cadastral surveys, area mapping and township leases; and
- $10.6 million for pilot land tenure reforms to help fund "next steps” for projects that demonstrate the benefits of tenure reform, particularly on pastoral leases.
Further to this the Government will support the development of more water resources by establishing a $200 million Water Infrastructure Development Fund. The Fund will provide up to $5 million for a feasibility analysis for the Nullinga Dam near Cairns, up to $5 million for detailed examination of land use suitability for Ord Stage 3.
The Government will also provide $15 million for water resource assessments of the Mitchell River in Queensland, west Kimberley in Western Australia and the Darwin region in the Northern Territory.
The Government will assist in attracting more investors to the North by:
- Hosting a major Northern Investment Forum in Darwin in late 2015 supported by the new Investment Prospectus "Northern Australia Emerging Opportunities in an Advanced Economy”;
- Setting up a new $75 million Cooperative Research Centre on Developing Northern Australia;
- Investing $15.3 million to position the North as global leader in tropical health providing $12.4 million for Indigenous Ranger groups to expand biosecurity surveillance; and
- Helping business enter new markets and supply chains by increasing access to the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme and Industry Skills Fund.
The Commonwealth Government will focus on funding high priority infrastructure through:
- $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility;
- $60 million roads package to improve key roads in the North;
- $100 million Beef Roads Fund to help improve cattle supply chains;
- $39.6 million to upgrade air strips and subsidise air services; and
- $5 million in rail freight analyses.
The Government will build on existing initiatives including reforms to higher education, skills and training and the $5.5 billion Growing Jobs and Small Business Package to create the right conditions for small business to grow and create new jobs.
To complement this investment the Commonwealth Government will continue to work with Indigenous Australians, the Northern jurisdictions and Industry so that the North can reach its full potential.
The Office of Northern Australia will be relocated to the North to improve linkages with the Commonwealth.