Investing in new opportunities for northern Australia

Joint media release with Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt

The Coalition Government today outlined a major new investment package that will further support new job creation, digital connectivity and grow businesses throughout Australia’s north.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the Government is delivering another $190 million through the new “Our North, Our Future: 2021-2026 investment plan”.

“Our plan will stimulate growth, private sector participation and business opportunities right across the north as the nation moves beyond economic recovery toward a secure and sustained economy,” Minister Pitt said.

“These investments will be made over the next five years to support the implementation of the 20 year White Paper on Developing Northern Australia that will see growth in jobs and the economies of the North.

“The 2021-22 Budget measures and funding will maximise jobs and economic opportunities across the north and support the Government’s JobMaker plan, Modern Manufacturing Strategy, the Gas Fired Recovery program and the Ag2030 agenda to boost Australia’s agricultural production.”

New measures for Northern Australia in the 2021-22 Budget include:

  • Piloting of a Regions of Growth approach, to help capitalise on regional strengths;
  • A Northern Australia Development Program, to help businesses scale up and diversify; and
  • A Connecting Northern Australia initiative, to improve digital connectivity.

“The Coalition Government is committed to building on the strengths of northern Australia to maximise the opportunities for jobs, economic development and the further expansion of business and industry across our north,” Minister Pitt said.

“Measures in the 2021-22 Budget will further help businesses scale up and diversify through the $111.9 million Northern Australia Development program. The program will provide co-investment grants which will help businesses build capability and resilience.

“The Coalition Government is also investing $68.5 million in telecommunications projects which will improve digital connectivity across the north, including remote indigenous communities.

“Communications and digital connectivity is critical to our modern economy. Improved access in regional, rural and remote areas of the north will help people and business remain connected and benefit from the technology that is available to people in the major towns and cities.”

Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry said the budget measures included a pilot Regions of Growth approach to help communities to identify and capitalise on their strengths.

“The Regions of Growth pilot program will provide specialists to help connect business to economic opportunities in areas such as advanced manufacturing, critical minerals development, or in agriculture,” Assistant Minister Landry said.

“The Regions of Growth to be piloted in the first stage are Mount Isa to Townsville; Cairns to Gladstone; Beetaloo Basin to Darwin Port; and Broome to Kununurra to Darwin. This program invests $9.3 million over five years and will provide locally-based support for business development and opportunities in the north.

“The next phase of development will set the new, strategic direction for northern Australia, ensuring it reaches its true potential as a great place in which to live, work and invest.”

These measures enhance the whole-of-government approach to economic growth in the north, and build on the $49.7 million already provided to support reforms to the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and an extension of its investment window to June 2026.

Minister Pitt said the announcement comes on top of measures the Government has already announced to support northern Australia.

“We’ve already committed $2.8 billion of the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) and around $2 billion has been allocated to improve roads across the north’s regional and remote areas,” Minister Pitt said.

“No other government has shown such strong commitment to the north and the people who live there.”

Media contact:

Assistant Minister Landry's office 02 6277 4283