Developing the North

Developing the North

Developing the North means northern communities playing an even bigger role in Australia’s prosperity and economic resilience. Australian, state and territory governments are focusing on northern Australia’s development, economic infrastructure, economic growth, and creating new jobs. The untapped potential, abundant resources and increasingly diverse population makes Developing the North a critical nation-building agenda. Australia’s long-term interest is best-served when northern communities, businesses and industries are vibrant, growing and increasingly engaged not only with each other, but with the broader Indo-Pacific region.

Northern Australia contains only around 5.3% of Australia’s population1, but already has strong momentum, contributing up to 10.7% of Australia’s economic activity over the same period2.

The Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia released in 2015 recognised that a strong and prosperous northern Australia was critical to Australia’s economic future.

The Northern Territory (NT) is a strong leader and advocate of the northern Australia policy agenda.

The annual Developing Northern Australia Conference is held annually with this long-standing event designed for attendees to network with key industry leaders and share research, developments and case studies contributing to the growth of northern Australia.

The 2021 conference theme, Rebound and resilience: leveraging the north’s potential for Australia’s recovery, will be held from 16 to 18 August 2021 at the Darwin Convention Centre.

View the conference program.

To register, go to the 2021 Developing Northern Australia Conference website.

The Hon. Nicole Manison is the NT’s Minister for Northern Australia and Trade. The minister is actively working to progress the Developing the North agenda for the benefit of all Territorians and Australians, in partnership with the following ministers from other jurisdictions:

  • Hon. Keith Pitt MP, Australian Government Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia
  • Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC, Western Australia Minister for Regional Development, Agriculture and Food, and the Hydrogen Industry
  • Hon. Glenn Butcher MP, Queensland Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing, Minister for Water.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade leads the implementation of the northern Australia development agenda across the NT Government, delivering Northern Australia Forward Work Plans and the remaining actions from the white paper in addition to championing the ongoing advancement of the northern Australia agenda.

The department works in collaboration with the following departmental counterparts in other jurisdictions:

  • Australian Government: Office of Northern Australia, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
  • Western Australia: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
  • Queensland: Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water.

For details of the Australian Government minister’s annual statements to Parliament and ministerial forum communiqués, go to the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website.

The Northern Australia Development Office (NADO) is an office and meeting space designed as ‘hubs’ to support industry, investors and the private sector interested in doing business in northern Australia. They feature executive facilities for high level strategic meetings for industry, investors, private sector and government.

NADO hubs are designed to encourage business and industry to further advance economic development across involved in progressing development across northern Australia. A number of key industry associations and Australian Government agencies are co-located in the offices in Darwin. However, there are a key NADO hubs across the NT which business can access.

Under the leadership of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, NADO is a key contributor to the broader northern Australia agenda.

Northern Australia Development Office (Darwin) 1800 733
Central Australia Development Office 08 8951
Central Australia Regional Office 08 8951
Katherine Regional Office 08 8973
Tennant Creek Regional Office 08 8962
Nhulunbuy Regional Office 08 8987
Wadeye Regional Office 0428 690

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) is a key facilitator of northern Australia development. NAIF is a development financier with a $5 billion lending facility provided by the Australian Government that provides loans to infrastructure projects and businesses across northern Australia. NAIF does not provide its loans directly and instead all funding is provided via the territory and states of the NT, Queensland and Western Australia.

The infrastructure that NAIF can finance is wide-ranging and includes assets that facilitate the establishment or enhancement of business activity or increase economic activity in a region. Examples of sectors that NAIF can support include resources, airports, ports and rail, agriculture, water, energy, social infrastructure (including property, tourism, education and health), manufacturing and telecommunications. For full details, go to the NAIF website.

In May 2021, NAIF announced a new partnership with the NT Government to use the Territory’s Local Jobs Fund to ‘on lend’ NAIF funds to local proponents. Under the new partnership, potential proponents in the Territory - including smaller projects - are able to tap into NAIF funding through the NT Local Jobs Fund, providing more localised decision-making on loan approvals.

Potential borrowers accessing NAIF funds through the NT scheme would also benefit from simplified public benefit and Aboriginal engagement requirements for borrowers. For full details, go to the Local Jobs Fund website.

In August 2021, Darwin will host the Developing Northern Australia Conference which will showcase advancement of Australia’s northern regions and provide a platform for stakeholders to share successes, challenges and ideas for change. The theme of this year’s conference is rebound and resilience: leveraging the north’s potential for Australia’s recovery.

Darwin is an ideal destination to host this year’s conference and will showcase the opportunities for northern Australia to become the engine room of Australia’s economy. For further details, go to the Developing Northern Australia Conference website.

Recent economic data shows the Territory’s economy is now returning to a position of strength despite the challenges of COVID-19. The Territory is becoming a popular destination for interstate migration and now boasts amongst the lowest unemployment rate in the nation (3.8% for April 2021, compared to 5.5% across Australia). Workers from interstate and abroad are attracted to the Territory’s relaxed lifestyle, opportunities for work-life balance, career progression, and increasing potential to work remotely throughout Australia and the region while based in the NT.

The Australian Government is continuing to invest heavily in the infrastructure of the NT, particularly through significant defence industry upgrades, which will contribute towards the ongoing security of the future of the north and underpin wider industry growth.

Ongoing job creation and industry growth are key priorities for the NT Government. In December 2020, the Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission (TERC) delivered its final report and the NT Government is now actively implementing the TERC recommendations as a road map for economic growth. For further details, go to the NT Rebound website.

The Territory continues to be a leader in the development of northern Australia. The time is right to continue the advancement of northern Australia’s regions for the future prosperity and benefit of all Australians.

1ABS, Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2017-2018 (Cat. No. 3208.0)
2Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Office of the Chief Economist

Last updated: 15 July 2021

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!