What did draw my attention was commentary on tourism. It is stated that Northern Australia has attracted 1.5 million international visitors in the past year and this could be expanded to 2 million. Given that the timeframe is 2030 this hardly seems a demanding objective at compound growth of 1.7%? Particularly when you consider the UNWTO forecast is for 3.3% pa growth in international tourism up to 2030.
Some historical political perspective to this most recent drive for northern development sounds awefully familiar:
“There is little doubt that the Australian people desire a faster rate of development. For many it is an uneasy feeling about an empty and defenceless north … Australia can make a unique contribution in the settling and development of a huge tropical area by an advanced people of European origin.
“The increased export earnings which the north can provide are necessary to raise the productive capacity of the south … what happens in the Fitzroy Basin in Central Queensland or on the Fitzroy in the southern Kimberleys is important to the people who live in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
“We will establish a Ministry for Northern Development. Mr Chifley regularly conferred with the premiers of Queensland and Western Australia on northern development. Sir Robert Menzies, Mr Holt and Mr Gorton never did. I shall.” - Gough Whitlam
A Ministry of Northern Development was established by Whitlam following the 1972 election and subsequently dismantled during the period of the Fraser Government.