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The Australian Government is committed to supporting resilient and sustainable economic growth to secure a strong and sustainable future for Northern Australia.

Northern Australia is defined as all of the Northern Territory and those parts of Queensland and Western Australia that intersect with the Tropic of Capricorn, including the Indian Ocean Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

The region is large, diverse and vibrant with many exciting opportunities for market development and diversification. However, the north's low population density and dispersed industry means it is difficult to capture the economies of scale that would normally present the case for community and infrastructure investment.

The north's natural and cultural assets can be sustainably developed to flatten boom and bust cycles, retain benefit in the region, build community amenity, and deliver workable social and care service solutions.

Opportunities exist to build on traditional industries including extraction and processing of resources; grow and diversify agriculture and aquaculture to produce clean, safe food, fibre and foliage; capitalise on cultural offerings and natural assets to grow tourism; and build on local participation in the defence industry supply chain.

Opportunities also exist in new and emerging industries such as renewable and low emissions industries including solar, wind and hydrogen; advanced manufacturing in resources technology, medical, clean energy, and food and beverage industries; the space industry including infrastructure and observational capabilities; and cultural and creative industries which can enhance arts enterprise whilst protecting cultural heritage.

Some quick facts on Northern Australia

  • Northern Australia comprises 53% of Australia's land mass.
  • It is home to 1.3 million people or 5.2% of Australia's total population.
  • It has a diverse population with a median age of 36 years compared with 38 years nationally.
  • It has an Indigenous population of over 230,000, which comprises 17.4% of Northern Australia's population, compared to 3.8% nationally.
  • Indigenous rights and interests cover 78% of the north's land mass.
  • The cattle industry represents the largest economic land use, covering around 60% of Northern Australia's land area.
  • There are 12.5 million beef cattle in Northern Australia, which supplies around 90% of Australia's annual live cattle exports.
  • Northern Australia produces 96% of Australia's bananas and 92% of Australia's mangoes.
  • 7.7% of Northern Australia's workforce is employed in mining compared to 1.9% nationally.
  • There are 7 world heritage sites in Northern Australia.
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Map of northern Australia showing the top end.


Click on map for larger version.

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