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More than $12 billion earmarked for Northern Australia

4 April 2019

Families, businesses and communities across Northern Australia will benefit from spending of more than $12 billion the Liberal-Nationals Government has earmarked for the region.

“We want to see the region prosper and Tuesday night’s Budget committed more than $5.7 billion in funds for northern infrastructure and to give flood-affected farmers a hand,” Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said today.

“This adds to the more than $6.3 billion previously committed to Northern Australia across a range of areas.

“We want to open up the north and continue to implement the strategic vision outlined in the Government’s ‘Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia’.

“Development momentum is building and concrete results being delivered in a region that is already an economic powerhouse, yet has so much more to offer our nation.

“Extensive road upgrades are connecting industry and producers to markets and making travel safer for northern communities.

“Industry-led research is generating productivity gains in industries critical to wealth creation.

“Water resource assessments are reducing the risks for investors to encourage financial commitment to major water storage infrastructure developments.

“And each northern jurisdiction is benefitting from private sector investment thanks to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

“The 2019-20 Budget is a clear demonstration of our commitment to our long-term strategy for developing Northern Australia.”

Minister Canavan said investment in northern infrastructure is vital in unlocking the north’s economic potential and this year’s Budget sees more than $2 billion committed to improve the quality of northern roads.

“This includes $1.7 billion under the northern component of the Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) program, increasing network reliability and connectivity for key road corridors right across Northern Australia.

“The roads investment also includes $287 million for the Cairns Ring Road, $144 million for the Townsville Ring Road, $100 million for the Gladstone Port Access Road, $70 million for iconic Kakadu roads and $60 million to upgrade roads on the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory.”

Minister Canavan said he is pleased the Budget provides additional assistance of $3.3 billion in grants and loans to help North Queenslanders recover from damage caused by the severe flooding early this year.

“These funds will assist disaster recovery through restocking, replanting and re-building of on-farm infrastructure, new loans through the Regional Investment Corporation, and assistance to manage the spread of prickly acacia following the floods.

“We have established the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency, which will provide strategic leadership and coordination of the Commonwealth’s recovery and reconstruction activities for the North Queensland livestock industry.

“The Government is also providing $77 million to fund the installation of new weather radars, including in North Queensland between Charters Towers and Hughenden.”

Minister Canavan said these new commitments build on more than $6.3 billion of spending in Northern Australia previously committed.

“Ongoing commitments include $5 billion for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), $600 million for the Northern Australia Roads Programme, $100 million for the Beef Roads Programme and more than $660 million for water.

Minister Canavan said water infrastructure is a vital area for development of the north. 

“More than $667 million has been committed in Northern Australia to ensure the right water infrastructure is built in the right place to support the growth of regional economies and communities.

“This includes five projects in Queensland: $200 million for water security for Townsville; $182 million for the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme; $176 million to co-fund the Rookwood Weir in Central Queensland; $54 million for Big Rocks Weir, first stage of the Hells Gates Dam project; $11.6 million for the Mareeba Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme Efficiency Project; and $3 million for the Nogoa Mackenzie Water Supply Scheme Efficiency Project.

“The Government has committed $9.6 million in this year’s Budget to establish the North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority.

“Also, we are spending over $40 million on 16 feasibility studies, including the $15 million Northern Australia Water Resource Assessments.”

Minister Canavan said considerable funding was also going to health, education and defence.

“Our funding measures further strengthen the Government’s commitment to developing Northern Australia, a region vital to the economic prosperity of all Australians.”

Media contact: Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180