The Inquiry into Federal Government's Northern Australia Agenda heads to the NT

November 06, 2019

MURRAY WATT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATURAL DISASTER AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
CHAIR OF SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT’S NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AGENDA
LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

SENATOR MALARNDIRRI MCCARTHY
SENATOR FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
 

The Senate Inquiry into the effectiveness of the Federal Government’s Northern Australia agenda will hear from the Northern Territory for the first time today.

Over the next two days the committee will hear from the Territory Government, councils, unions, indigenous organisations, key industries and major infrastructure proponents about what is and isn’t working in the Government’s Northern Australia agenda.

Since being appointed Shadow Minister for Northern Australia, I have received feedback across the north that the Government’s Northern Australia agenda remains vital, but has failed to meet expectations. 

That’s no surprise when the Prime Minister has not bothered to visit the Northern Territory once since the election, even though he has undertaken 10 overseas trips, spending 36 days overseas, in that time.

One example of the Government’s underperformance is the infamous Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) or the No Actual Infrastructure Fund, as it’s become known in Northern Australia. Four years after it was announced, only 1% - less than $50 million of its $5 billion budget - has been released from the fund over the past four years.

Northern Australians deserve the best policies, to deliver on the region’s incredible potential. The central aim of the Select Committee’s inquiry will be to ensure that the Government’s Northern Australia agenda is truly delivering economic and social progress for residents and businesses in Northern Australia.

The inquiry will kick off at 9am tomorrow at the Territory Parliament and heads to Nhulunbuy on Wednesday.

Comments from Committee attendees’ submissions

Charles Darwin University

“CDU believes that there is further opportunity for the Northern Australia Agenda to articulate more clearly and support the development of Indigenous leadership in the promotion of international education and training opportunities in the Territory as a point of difference.”

“CDU cannot emphasise strongly enough the importance of the Australian Government supporting policies that will continue to sustain and grow the university in the Northern Territory. This requires a shift from ‘one-size fits all’ approaches to Higher Education and provision for nuances differentiated support for young, regionally committed institutions such as CDU.”

Darwin Major Business Group

“There have been successive Northern Australia Agendas over time. None have them, including the current Northern Australia Agenda, have made any significant difference to development in the Northern Territory.”

“It is in our nations long term interest to fully develop the Territory and Northern Australia’s full potential as a strategic regional hub through strong population, modern connected infrastructure and business opportunity. Strategically positioned for significant contribution to Australia’s future security, prosperity and engagement in the region.”

MEDIA RELEASE - WEDNESDAY, 6th NOVEMBER 2019