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7 May, 2021

Budget drives opportunities across the north

The 2021-22 Budget will drive new opportunities and growth across northern Queensland with a package of measures focused on jobs, digital connectivity and help for business to grow and diversify.

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen welcomed this announcement worth just under $190 million.

“This sets us up for the next phase of developing the north by helping business and industry to scale up, diversify and create jobs,” Mr Christensen said.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the Coalition Government is making further investments over five years to support the implementation of the 20 year White Paper on Developing Northern Australia.

The $189.6 million Our North, Our Future: 2021-2026 package supports 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 include:

  • Piloting of a Regions of Growth approach, worth $9.3 million over five years to help capitalise on regional strengths;
  • A Northern Australia Development Program, worth $111.9 million over five years, to help businesses scale up and diversify; and
  • $68.5 million for 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.

He said the Government will help businesses scale up, diversify and build resilience through the Northern Australia Development co-investment grants program.

The Connecting Northern Australia initiative will invest in telecommunications projects which will improve digital connectivity across the north, including remote indigenous communities.

Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry said the budget measures included a pilot Regions of Growth program 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.

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.

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