Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Office of Northern Australia

Developing Northern Australia

The Office of Northern Australia is actively implementing the Australian Government's northern agenda, in close collaboration with a diverse range of partners.

Northern Australia, which is all of the Northern Territory and those parts of Queensland and Western Australia north of the Tropic of Capricorn, is a diverse and vibrant region rich in opportunities to drive growth in jobs and investment for the benefit of all Australians.

A strong and prosperous north is critical to Australia's economic future.

The Australian Government's next five year plan, Our North, Our Future 2021-2026: Targeted Growth, reaffirms our commitment to supporting resilient and sustainable economic growth and maximising Northern Australia's potential. It sets out a clear, coordinated plan to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.

The next five year plan builds on the 2015 Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, which set out the long-term policy vision for Northern Australia's sustainable economic development.

Realising the vision of a stronger north requires a long-term commitment and united efforts across government, industry and the community.

The Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, the Hon David Littleproud MP, and Special Envoy for Northern Australia, Senator Susan McDonald lead the Northern Australia agenda, setting the foundations for investment and sustainable economic growth.

The Office of Northern Australia is actively implementing the Australian Government's northern agenda, in close collaboration with a diverse range of partners.

  • Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) provides states and territories with financial assistance for northern infrastructure projects.
  • Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) funds industry-led research to develop new technologies, products and services in the north.
  • The Northern Australia Indigenous Reference Group was established in 2017 to provide advice to the Australian and northern jurisdictional governments on Indigenous economic advancement in Northern Australia. The group ensures the interests of Indigenous land owners, communities and businesses is represented in the Northern Australia agenda. Members have high-level expertise and experience across a range of industries, sectors and regions, rather than specific organisations or communities.

back to top

Northern Australia Business and Community Development Opportunities

The Australian Government has recently announced two new exciting grant programs to support businesses and communities in northern Australia, with $80 million in funding available over three years. The two programs; the Northern Australia Development Program and the Business and Community Growth Program, will operate in parallel, to support businesses, community groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations diversify, scale up operations and thrive.

To stay up to date, follow us on social media @OfficeNorthAus or subscribe to our newsletter.

Northern Australia Development Program

The Northern Australia Development Program (NADP) is open to small to large businesses, including Indigenous businesses. It will fund up to 50 per cent of the total cost of individual projects through two simultaneous grant streams:

  • Stream 1: targeting small to medium businesses with expansion and diversification grants of between $50,000 and $2 million
  • Stream 2: targeting larger businesses with grants between $3 million and $10 million to establish a new industry or significantly grow the value of an existing industry, contributing to transformational change in a region.

The NADP will be supported by a specialised business advisory service to help grow and strengthen successful businesses in a strategic way.

Eligibility guidelines are available at business.gov.au. The first round of the NADP opened on 4 November 2021 and will close on 10 December 2021. Grants will be awarded from February 2022.

  • Northern Australia Development Program Information sheet PDF: 203 KB

Business and Community Growth Program

The Business and Community Growth Program (BCGP) is available to a broad range of applicants, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, community organisations, sole trader and partnerships.

Grants will fund up to 50 per cent of the total eligible project expenditure, with the minimum grant amount $50,000 and the maximum $2 million.

Eligibility guidelines are available at business.gov.au.

Applications are open now and close on 13 January 2021. Grants will be awarded from early 2022.

  • Northern Australia Business and Community Growth Program Information sheet PDF: 686 KB

Our North, Our Future 2021-2026: Targeted Growth

The Australian Government's next five year plan for progressing economic development in Northern Australia, Our Future, Our North 2021-2026: Targeted Growth was released in November 2021. It sets out a clear five year plan for progressing economic development in Northern Australia and will ensure a coordinated approach to maximise the economic and public return on Government investments.

  • Our North, Our Future 2021-2026: Targeted Growth PDF: 7739 KB
  • Our North, Our Future 2021-2026 and Master Planning PDF: 1181 KB

Regions of Growth

The centrepiece of the plan is the Regions of Growth initiative, which will link state and territory governments to ensure a coordinated, coherent approach to investments.

Under this initiative, Master Plans will be developed to accelerate the Regions of Growth. The Master Plans will anchor resources and investment from across all levels of government to deliver flagship transformative infrastructure investments that maximise the long term public benefit of regional planning and development.

The first three Master Plans will focus on locations within: Mount Isa to Townsville, Queensland; Beetaloo to Katherine to Darwin, Northern Territory; and Broome to Kununurra to Darwin, Western Australia and Northern Territory.

An investment pipeline will be mapped out by mid-2022 and by late-2022 the Australian Government and northern jurisdictions will have identified preferred infrastructure investments.

The next priority Region of Growth corridor is Cairns to Gladstone (QLD). The master planning process for this will commence in late 2022.

The Master Plans and the Northern Australia Development Program are complemented by a range of other measures that will support economic development in the north, such as the Connecting Northern Australia Initiative.

  • Our North, Our Future 2021-2026: Targeted Growth PDF: 7739 KB

White Paper

The Australian Government's Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia was released in 2015 and sets out the priorities to drive growth in Australia's north. It's a 20-year plan for investment and collaborative support to grow the north through:

  • simpler land arrangements to support investment
  • developing the north’s water resources
  • business, trade and investment
  • infrastructure to support growth
  • the northern workforce
  • good governance
  • Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia DOCX: 12948 KB PDF: 15251 KB
  • Our North, Our Future: White Paper Overview PDF: 2024 KB

back to top

Green Paper

The Green Paper on Developing Northern Australia built on the government's agenda for Northern Australia and informed the 2015 Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. The north is a region that holds many opportunities but faces significant economic, social, geographic and environmental challenges. Unlocking the north's potential will strengthen the economy and promote jobs growth for Australia.

The paper sought to facilitate feedback on opportunities, risks, challenges and policy options to drive growth in the north.

back to top

Progress reports

back to top

Statements and agreements

back to top

Fact sheet

back to top

Map

Thumbnail of full-colour Northern Australia map

This detailed, full-colour map of Northern Australia has been designed to support development in the north. It also available in high resolution.

The map shows population centres, topographic features, local climates, geographic boarders, mineral and energy deposits, petroleum gas fields, major infrastructure projects, and the latest Native Title Determinations and Indigenous Land Use Agreements.

The Office of Northern Australia developed this map in partnership with Geoscience Australia.

back to top

Connect with us

Subscribe to Our North, Our Future e-Newsletter

Receive regular news from the Office of Northern Australia about developing Northern Australia and opportunities and events across the region.

See previous issues

Social media

  • Twitter, Office of Northern Australia @OfficeNorthAus
  • LinkedIn – Office of Northern Australia
    Follow our official hashtags #developingnorthernaustralia #ournorthourfuture
  • YouTube
    Watch the Office of Northern Australia channel for progress in the developing Northern Australia agenda.

Contact us

back to top