Independent Strategic Analysis of Australia’s Global Interests

Northern Australia & Land Care

Northern Australia, that region of Australia north of the Tropic of Capricorn, provides a wealth of economic opportunities for our nation. This region is also strategically important for the vital role it plays in border protection and as an interface for broader engagement with neighbouring states.

Progress Report Foreshadows Enhanced Defence Infrastructure

Background In late January 2012, former defence secretaries Allan Hawke and Ric Smith released a progress report on the Force Posture Review (FPR).  Media commentary has suggested that it is a pessimistic appraisal of current defence positioning. On the contrary, the brief findings published so far suggest that an enhancement, rather than a large-scale realignment...

The Future Submarine Project: Implications for West Australia

6 February 2012 | Northern Australia & Land Care

Download PDF Key Points Australia is to acquire 12 new submarines. A project of this magnitude comes with inherent risks; a bespoke “son of Collins-class”vessel, built in South Australia, will significantly increase these potential challenges. The Future Submarine Project should engage Western Australia as the key location for development, recognising the state’s infrastructure, naval, maritime...

Mutiny Tip of the Iceberg in PNG Instability

Background The botched mutiny in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is symptomatic of much larger political issues. PNG bears many of the hallmarks of a failing state. Although calm seems to have returned to Port Moresby for the moment, the latest development in the year-long political crisis bodes poorly for a resolution in the short-term. PNG’s...

Halls Creek Boom Could Break China’s Rare Earth Monopoly

Background The Shire of Halls Creek, in north-west Australia, is experiencing a rare earth mining boom. In the most recent example, George Bauk, Managing Director of Northern Minerals, announced in late November that the company hopes to start mining Rare Earth Elements (REE) in Browns Range by 2015. Australia’s expanded role in REE extraction comes...

Defence Minister Forecasts Joint Military Base on Australia’s “Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier”

30 November 2011 | Northern Australia SWA Articles

Background In late November 2011, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith confirmed that the Force Posture Review (FPR) will consider the future strategic role of the Cocos and Christmas Islands. Mr Smith suggested that while no formal proposal existed, the Cocos Islands could, in the future, host joint US-Australian naval and air assets. The plan has...

American Military Increase: Limited in Force, Significant in Symbolism

16 November 2011 | Northern Australia SWA Articles

Background This week, President Obama will visit Darwin to announce an increase in the American military presence in the region. The agreement, to be announced on the 60th anniversary of the United States-Australia alliance, is expected to lead to more joint military exercises and provision for a number of US military personnel to be rotated...

La Niña Effects Set to Have Impact on Northern Australia

Background According to recent predictions by the Bureau of Meteorology, the potential for climatic conditions to have a severe impact on Northern Australia this summer is high. Adverse weather conditions have the potential to disrupt operations in the coal and iron ore industries, highlighting the importance of accurate climatic predictions to support Australia’s economic interests....

Government Attempts to Link Welfare to Truancy

Background In mid-October, in response to recommendations from the “Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory report”, the Federal Government announced the expansion of initiatives linking school attendance to welfare payments. Comment Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, announced that the government would expand measures linking school attendance to welfare payments in the Northern Territory (NT). The...

Torres Strait Islanders Push for Secession

Background In mid-October, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, reignited debate on the long-term future of the Torres Strait Islands, by backing the Islanders’ long-term aspirations for succession from the state in a letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard. As noted by Ms Gillard, however, increased autonomy would have lasting implications for the community. Comment The right...

AUSMIN Talks Confirm Primacy of Alliance

28 September 2011 | Northern Australia SWA Articles

Background In mid-September, Australia and the US held the annual ministerial-level meetings in San Francisco, to coincide with the anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty. In attendance were the Foreign and Defence Ministers of both countries, who gave joint speeches on the current priorities and future direction of the alliance. It has been sixty years since...

Publication Guide

  • Associate papers are primary source assessments written by FDI associates. The assessment topics range from regional bilateral relationships and opportunities and challenges in our neighbouring countries.

  • Feature interviews are interviews conducted by an FDI Research Manager. Interview topics range from the sustainability of our planet to the improved provision of emergency food aid.

  • Normally issued in hardcopy, these represent a comprehensive study of one of FDI’s four research areas.

  • Strategic alerts are priority current intelligence items. We provide these alerts when events such as military deployments or foreign election results occur.

  • A 1500 to 3000 word, single topic assessment.

  • A number of short articles addressing current intelligence topics, issued each week.

  • A record of discussions resulting from a single, or series of, roundtable conferences.

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