Northern Australia

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An historian reading the government White Paper on developing northern Australia will realise we’re actually heading all the way back to the 1890s. andrew matthews/Flickr

Northern development plan shows Australia’s fraught vision of our tropics

The federal government's recent White Paper on developing northern Australia has disturbing echoes of the 1890s, a time when unbridled capitalism and indentured labour developed the North.
The north may be pleasant now, but climate change may make it less so. rjcox/Flickr

Climate: the elephant in the room for developing northern Australia

The recently released white paper on developing northern Australia ignores an elephant in the room: climate change. While the paper sees a bright future for the north (roads, rail, dams and food), without considering climate change we can't be sure the north will even be liveable.
The white paper on developing northern Australia outlines a solid vision - now for action. Andrew Campbell

Is the white paper a game-changer for northern Australia?

The White Paper on Developing Northern Australia represents the most comprehensive attempt yet to think through the development possibilities of the north.
Tony Abbott: ‘We can encourage jobs and tackle the costs of living far away from major cities’. AAP/Lukas Coch

Abbott to announce boost for the north

A 20-year roadmap to boost northern Australia's development and investment will be unveiled by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Looking over Palmerston and the East Arm of Darwin Harbour to the new $35B Inpex LNG plant. Many resources projects in the north are in beautiful, environmentally important places. Andrew Campbell

The budget harks back to old ideas for northern Australia

This year's federal budget outlined plans for infrastructure in northern Australia, but it will need to do more than build roads and rail to sustainably develop the north.
More mines, more roads, as the government puts its drive towards economic development ahead of all else. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

There are no green shoots for sustainability in this Budget

Amid talk of paths to surplus and investing in infrastructure, both sides of politics seem to have forgotten Australia's longstanding responsibility to govern sustainably, and not just for the economy.
Not at loggerheads: jobs and the environment can coexist in Queensland’s north. Willem van Aken/CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Jobs versus the environment: the debate Queensland can end

Do politicians really have to choose between being pro-development or pro-environment? No, says Allan Dale, and Queensland's new government has the chance to prove it.
Cane toads are still spreading across northern Australia. UNSW

Building fences could stop cane toads in their tracks

Cane toads, introduced in 1935 to control cane beetles, have now spread across a huge swathe of Australia, from the Kimberley in northern Western Australia to northern New South Wales. They’re still spreading…
King tides are just one of the threats faced by the people of Saibai Island in the Torres Strait, as a result of climate change. Brad Marsellos

Rising seas pose a cultural threat to Australia’s ‘forgotten people’

While you may have heard about the increasing threat that climate change and rising seas pose to Pacific islands — already forcing some communities to move — Australia has its own group of islands that…
Indigenous rangers at the Fish River Station in the Northern Territory. Indigenous Land Corporation

Why Australia’s outback is globally important

There are places in Australia that are awe-inspiring, spectacular, mysterious; they touch our spirit and help define our nation. Kakadu is one, Uluru another, the magnificent red sandy deserts, the Kimberley…
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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…

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