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The Australian Government’s key milestones for Northern Australia

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This article was written by Stephan Cerni and Andy Wu.

The Federal Government has set out various milestones for the next two, five, 10 and 20 years as a part of its long-term plan for Northern Australia. Below are some of major barriers it will need to address to achieve its vision.

Reduced barriers to better use of land and water resources:

  • Accelerate pastoral lease reforms to enable pastoral owners to diversify their businesses.
  • Improve capabilities of native title bodies to more efficiently negotiate with business.
  • Commission water resource assessment in a number of catchments to identify water and soils necessary for development.
  • Commit up to $200 million in a National Water Infrastructure Development Fund to accelerate water infrastructure investment.
  • Work within State and territory governments, financiers and native title holders to finance developments on native title land.

A more welcoming investment environment:

  • Apply a risk neutral framework for assessing development impact.
  • Single point of entry for investors in major projects located in Darwin to help with regulatory hurdles.
  • Faster/easier online visa applications for China and India to attract booming tourism.

Improved infrastructure:

A workforce that meets the needs of the north:

  • More flexible labour market system to suit weather conditions and shift workers.
  • Increase workforce participation by removing disincentives to work inherent in the welfare system.
  • Variety of schemes to source Australian/international labour to meet shortages.

Although the Federal Government's role is not to create successful businesses, through its White Paper commitments, it will create lasting successful business environments and infrastructure and economic that will facilitate businesses and enormous development and population growth in the north.

It is important to note that state and territory cooperation is necessary for success and the plan has received support from State, territory and local governments.

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