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Analysis and Comment (22)

Right idea, wrong execution: the Ord River irrigation scheme needed better surrounding infrastructure. Right idea, wrong execution: the Ord River irrigation scheme needed better surrounding infrastructure. isthatdave/Wikimedia Commons

To grow agriculture in Australia, farmers need to think like miners

It’s perhaps fitting that mining magnate Andrew Forrest is in the vanguard of a move to position Australia as a major food supplier to China. Fitting, because if the plan is to work, Australian agriculture…
Indigenous land owners weren’t consulted in the past about the creation of Western Australia’s huge Ord River irrigation scheme – but a recent agreement offers a more positive example for developing other parts of northern Australia. Indigenous land owners weren’t consulted in the past about the creation of Western Australia’s huge Ord River irrigation scheme – but a recent agreement offers a more positive example for developing other parts of northern Australia. Pete Hill/Flickr

Lessons from the Kimberley on developing Northern Australia

We are very happy to have got this far. We have had our disagreements but we have managed to work through them and now we are all getting on with the job. We have learnt a lot through the process. Standing…
The Largetooth Sawfish is one of the world’s largest fishes, growing to more than 6 metres. The Largetooth Sawfish is one of the world’s largest fishes, growing to more than 6 metres. Miguel Clavero

Australian endangered species: Largetooth Sawfish

Sharks and rays are some of the world’s most threatened animals, with a quarter of all species at risk of extinction. Among the sharks and rays, sawfish are some of the most threatened, with all five species…
A baby northern quoll. The native mammal is having a hard time across northern Australia, battling for survival against cane toads and feral predators such as cats. A baby northern quoll. The native mammal is having a hard time across northern Australia, battling for survival against cane toads and feral predators such as cats. Parks Australia/Flickr

Cape York’s wildlife ignored in the rush to develop the north

The future of Cape York Peninsula – home to many of Australia’s unique birds, mammals, frogs and reptiles – is currently under review. Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently launched the first stage of a…
Many remote communities have been cut off from the internet, missing out on services and skills others take for granted. Many remote communities have been cut off from the internet, missing out on services and skills others take for granted. yaruman5/flickr

Getting remote Indigenous communities online

Most remote Australian Indigenous communities have little or no access to digital technology. Last year, three internet-enabled terminals were installed as a trial in the remote communities of Burraluba…
Remote beauty: Twin Falls in Cape York. Remote beauty: Twin Falls in Cape York. www.shutterstock.com/John Carnemolla

The battle for Cape York: whose vision will win out?

From its stunning wetlands in the west, across a dry central spine, to the coastal heathlands and rainforests in the east, Cape York Peninsula is deservedly world-famous for its rugged beauty. For many…
Mammals are disappearing across northern Australia; the Capentarian Rock-rat is one of them. Mammals are disappearing across northern Australia; the Capentarian Rock-rat is one of them. Damien Stanioch

Australian endangered species: Carpentarian Rock-rat

Mammals are disappearing in Australia’s Top End, and we’re not really sure why. This is particularly concerning as northern Australia has a human population density of one person per ten square kilometres…
Indonesian ownership of Australian cattle is a step in the right direction for both countries, but welfare still needs work. Indonesian ownership of Australian cattle is a step in the right direction for both countries, but welfare still needs work. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Indonesians can buy our land but shouldn’t ship live cattle

Australians should not be alarmed but pleased at the current Indonesian proposal to invest in cattle production in the north of Australia. It demonstrates a renewed confidence in Australia’s ability to…
Australians see the NT as a place of red sand, Uluru and Aborigines but this is an incomplete picture. Australians see the NT as a place of red sand, Uluru and Aborigines but this is an incomplete picture. Image from shutterstock.com

State of the states: Northern Territory

STATE OF THE STATES: a snapshot of the key issues affecting each state and territory in the lead up to Saturday’s election. The Northern Territory is, in effect, a self-governing territory of the Commonwealth…
Yes, it rains a lot in the north. But it’s also dry a lot. And variability could get worse. Yes, it rains a lot in the north. But it’s also dry a lot. And variability could get worse. Kasi Metcalfe

Politicians have forgotten the ‘dry’ in dry tropics and the change in the climate

Northern futures, northern voices: It seems everyone has ideas about how Australia’s north could be better, but most of those ideas come from the south. In this six-part weekly series, developed by the…
It involves dams, but so much more than dams. It involves dams, but so much more than dams. Andrew Campbell

The north’s future is electrifying: powering Asia with renewables

Northern futures, northern voices: It seems everyone has ideas about how Australia’s north could be better, but most of those ideas come from the south. In this six-part weekly series, developed by the…
The diverse rivers of Northern Australia, flat and expansive, support diverse species and are linked by unregulated Wet season flows. The diverse rivers of Northern Australia, flat and expansive, support diverse species and are linked by unregulated Wet season flows. Andrew Campbell

Dam it all? River futures in northern Australia

Northern futures, northern voices: It seems everyone has ideas about how Australia’s north could be better, but most of those ideas come from the south. In this six-part weekly series, developed by the…
Local people want sensible development that is sensitive to the things that make the north unique and valuable. Local people want sensible development that is sensitive to the things that make the north unique and valuable. Tom Rayner

We need a smarter debate on developing northern Australia

Northern futures, northern voices: It seems everyone has ideas about how Australia’s north could be better, but most of those ideas come from the south. In this six-part weekly series, developed by the…
Let’s look at ways to shift some power to northern decision makers. Let’s look at ways to shift some power to northern decision makers. Michael and Daphne Oliver

Northern Australia should have a say in its own future

Northern futures, northern voices: It seems everyone has ideas about how Australia’s north could be better, but most of those ideas come from the south. In this six-part weekly series, developed by the…
We’re talking, yet again, about how lovely it is up north. We’re talking, yet again, about how lovely it is up north. Flickr/skittledog

Romancing the north: the food bowl furphy

The romantic idea of developing northern Australia has once more been thrust into the light, this time by the Coalition’s 2030 Plan for Developing Northern Australia. As I look at coverage of the plan…
An early season burn in Arnhem Land. Low intensity fires decrease greenhouse emissions and increase carbon stored in trees. Brett Murphy. An early season burn in Arnhem Land. Low intensity fires decrease greenhouse emissions and increase carbon stored in trees. Brett Murphy.

Savanna burning: carbon pays for conservation in northern Australia

Fire and biodiversity have a complex relationship in northern Australia. Tim Flannery and others blame the current northern biodiversity crisis, at least in part, on changed fire regimes. Improving fire…
Introduced as food for cattle, gamba grass burns in a way that threatens northern Australia’s ecosystems. Introduced as food for cattle, gamba grass burns in a way that threatens northern Australia’s ecosystems. AAP Image/CRC for Weed Management

Field of nightmares: gamba grass in the Top End

Stretching across the north from Broome to Townsville, Australia’s tropical savannas are the largest, least-degraded savannas on Earth. While fire management, pastoralism, mining, and the decline of native…
As any barramundi fisher will tell you, northern Australia’s water isn’t going to waste. As any barramundi fisher will tell you, northern Australia’s water isn’t going to waste. Justin Friend

Someone is already using northern Australia’s water: wildlife

With increasing pressure on Australia’s water resources, many have looked to northern Australia to provide water for agriculture, urban development and other human needs. Much of northern Australia is…
A lack of empirical data is hindering indigenous policymaking in the Northern Territory. A lack of empirical data is hindering indigenous policymaking in the Northern Territory. AAP

What’s data got to do with it? Reassessing the NT intervention

Since its introduction in 2007, there has been much debate over the effectiveness of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) in improving the quality of life in remote indigenous communities…
Northern Australia has a lot of water, but intensive agriculture may not be the best use for it. Northern Australia has a lot of water, but intensive agriculture may not be the best use for it. feral arts

Using northern Australia’s water, but avoiding the mistakes of the south

The millenium drought has broken in the south, but that hasn’t diminished interest in developing the seemingly vast water resources of northern Australia. The recent announcement of a multi-million dollar…