Time for Action on Northern Australia Development

Senator Matt Canavan has welcomed release of the report on development of northern Australia and said it’s time for action.

“The Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia has done a good job in looking at options for development. Now it’s time to turn words into action,” he said.

“Let’s start building the dams, roads and port facilities that are needed to drive development of northern Australia and drive further expansion of the Australian economy.”

Senator Canavan said projects he particularly wanted action on included: Urannah Dam, inland from Mackay and Proserpine; water development on the Fitzroy River and in the Gulf; sealing of the Hann Highway north of Hughenden; more beef development roads; and expansion of the port of Karumba.

Senator Canavan also welcomed the report’s recommendation for Central Queensland University to be included in the Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) for Northern Agriculture.

“Relatively simple and straightforward action on northern projects can have far-reaching effects,” he said.

“For example, upgrading and sealing just 140 km of road along the Hann Highway would provide a direct, fully-sealed route from Cairns to Melbourne via Bourke, cutting driving time by two days, diverting traffic from the busy Bruce Highway and allowing use of triple road trains. The Hann Highway can become an opportunity corridor.”

“Attracting private investment to develop the north will be crucial but we will also need to provide public infrastructure. No farm is an island: they need roads, water infrastructure and ports to connect to the opportunities in Asia.”

4 September 2014

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