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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, Cocos and 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; growth and diversification of agriculture and aquaculture to produce clean, safe food, fibre and foliage; capitalising on cultural offerings and natural assets to grow tourism; and local participation in the defence industry supply chain.

Opportunities also exist in new and emerging industries such as renewable and low emissions industries such as, 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

  • Comprises 53% of Australia's land mass
  • Home to 1.3 million people or 5.3% of the national population
  • A young and diverse population with a median age of 35-39 years
  • An Indigenous population of over 200,000 or 16% of Northern Australia’s population, compared to a rate of 2.55% nationally
  • 78% of the north’s land mass is covered by Indigenous rights and interests
  • Home to 7 world heritage sites
  • Produces more than 94% of Australia’s bananas, 93% of Australia’s mangoes, and the beef herd comprises 12.5 million cattle and makes up 90% of Australia's live cattle exports.

Map of Northern Australia - dark shading Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia (2015) definition; light shading Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act (2016) definition