Northern Australia - at last


Federal Coalition Spokesman on Northern Australia, Townsville-based Senator Ian Macdonald, said that the release of todays vision for Northern Australia by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was the culmination of years of work by Northerners to map a pathway for the coordinated development of the North.

Senator Macdonald said that the Green Paper released today recognises, for the first time, the value of Northern Australia to the Australian economy and highlights the opportunities for further development.

Within twelve months of being elected, should Australians choose Tony Abbott as the next Prime Minister, a White Paper addressing all of the issues needed to develop the North will be prepared.

It is significant that this work will be done by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, indicating the priority and importance placed on this project.

In particular I am very pleased about the establishment of a Cooperative Research Centre for Northern Australia which will be based in the North.

The Water Project Development Fund will support studies into the storage and management of water in the North an essential element of meeting our goal of making Northern Australia a food bowl to help feed the exploding middle classes in the Tropic Zone.

Our proximity to Asia and our situation in the Tropic Zone gives us a leading edge advantage to capture new opportunities in medical and health research, provision of health care and export of education and tourism assets.

Already James Cook University is focusing on the Tropic Zone and the Coalition wants to support JCU in this focus for the betterment of Australia.

The Coalitions Paper recognises the higher effective costs in rural and remote areas and the impact this has on families decisions to relocate or remain in Northern Australia.

The Coalition is determined to build on existing key urban centres as well. Relocation incentives, including taxation arrangements will be closely looked at in the White Paper.

The importance of tourism is recognised in the Coalitions plans and the focus on expanding Defence facilities in the North to support our strategic and regional objectives and allies is an initiative long overdue, Senator Macdonald said.

Commitments to abolish the carbon and mining tax will give a much needed boost to investment in Australias major exports.

I am also delighted that we will be giving relevant public servants the opportunity of enjoying the pleasure and excitement of working and living in the North of Australia, the countrys next frontier.

CLICK HERE to see the Coalition's Vision for North Australia

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