A broad-ranging new inquiry into the future of Northern Australia will seek to help define the region as an economic powerhouse for the nation.
The inquiry by the Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia will examine economic, taxation and infrastructure policies which could help support development in the parts of Australia north of the Tropic of Capricorn, which includes large parts of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Committee chair Warren Entsch said supporting development in Northern Australia will open up new opportunities that will benefit the entire country.
“With its abundant resources and proximity to Asia, Northern Australia is set to become the new frontier in the economic development of Australia,” Mr Entsch said.
“With the right policies and incentives in place, Northern Australia has the capacity to become a leader in agriculture, minerals and energy, tourism, research and education.”
As well as identifying and supporting opportunities to develop the regions natural resources and advantages, Mr Entsch also said it is crucial to examine and mitigate the impediments holding back economic and social development in the region.
“We must remove impediments to growth and set the stage for innovation and investment,” he said.
Submissions to the new inquiry are due by 17 February 2014, to be followed by public hearings held in various locations across Northern Australia. An interim report is due by the end of May with the final report to be delivered to parliament on or before 6 July 2014.