Northern Australia to bloom
In early September, the Joint Select Committee of Northern Australia tabled its final report of the Inquiry into the Development of Northern Australia. A White Paper is due to follow in the next 12 months defining policy for ‘realising the full economic potential of the north’. The Committee is inquiring into the ‘potential for development of the region’s mineral, energy, agricultural, tourism, defence and other industries … trade and other investment links with the Asia-Pacific; … the regulatory, taxation and economic environment; impediments to growth; and … conditions for private investment and innovation’. Additionally, it is charged with identifying ‘the critical economic and social infrastructure needed to support the long term growth of the [northern Australia] region, and ways to support planning and investment in that infrastructure.’ The forthcoming White Paper, intended to support and synthesise existing work in promoting economic opportunity in the north, will no doubt provide for a significant shift in laws relating to land tenure and use, environmental regulation, and taxation and corporate regulation. While the Committee comprises many familiar with the particular context of Australia north of the Tropic of Capricorn, those at home in metropolitan Australia will perhaps be called upon to revisit their understanding of this vast and largely misunderstood territory.
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- Category: DUAO - 2014 - Vol 39(4)