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Unlocking Northern Australia's full potential

1 December 2017

The Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Matt Canavan, will chair the Focus to the North meeting today to discuss strategies to unlock the full potential of Northern Australia.

It will bring together representatives from the Office of Northern Australia, Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia, Commonwealth Research and Development Corporations, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) and the Northern Australia Indigenous Reference Group.

“The Coalition Government is implementing our economic plan for the North, investing in roads, dams and infrastructure,” Minister Canavan said.

“The $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility has signed off on its first investment and has another 11 projects in due diligence.

“Other practical investments include the $100 million Northern Australia Beef Roads Program which will upgrade at least 150 kilometres of road and the $600 million Northern Australia Roads Program which will upgrade at least 330 kilometres of road.

“And we have $130 million on the table to build the Rookwood Weir.

“These are real investments that improve the lives of the people of Northern Australia.

“We have a range of experts that know exactly what makes Northern Australia tick. Working together, these groups can ensure we get maximum return for our investments, and make sure these projects deliver real jobs that benefit the North.”

Northern Australia accounts for over 11 per cent of Australia’s GDP, despite boasting just five per cent of the nation’s population.

Minister Canavan said the primary aim of this meeting was to maximise the outcomes of the Government’s CRC for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) where the Government is investing $75 million over ten years for the CRCNA to attract private investors.

“The CRCNA has food and agriculture as one of its key focus areas so it is critical that we integrate Research and Development together with the premier agricultural R&D bodies in Australia,” he said.

“We will also take the opportunity to discuss opportunities under the NAIF and how we deliver better Indigenous outcomes through the northern development agenda.”

Chair of the CRCNA, Sheriden Morris, welcomed the opportunity to discuss some of the key issues facing Northern Australia and the important role research and development can play in addressing or removing strategic barriers.

“The CRCNA recently held an open call for expressions of interest for project funding which has identified some key priorities and themes and we are looking forward to sharing this with the group,” she said.

Media contact: Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180